Welcome to Gattaca – or Meet the real Okjas.

After a year of trying, a lab from the University of California that is led by the Australian Geneticist Van Eenennaam, had just used the gene-editing tool CRISPR to add a gene called SRY to some bovine skin cells.

What does it mean?

CRISPR: gene editing tool that enables scientist to make changes on the DNA in the embryo phase,  so they can remove or edit bad genes or just make animals more profitable. It has been used to create pigs that are immune to viruses and sheep whose wool grows longer.

SRY: a bit of DNA that can make a female turn out to be essentially male—with bigger muscles, a penis, and testicles (but unable to make sperm).

It means that the industry will be able to have only male animals and in this case, male cattle – Van Eenennaam likes to call this the “ Boys only” project.

But, why would the industry take advantage of that? Basically, males grow bigger and faster, which means…more steak.

Why it’s hot:
This is scary. Of course, we can discuss the positive effects that editing bad parts of DNA can have on animals and people.  But do we need that? What are the risks of it? How can it change the way we live together?

Source: MIT Technology Review