In Brazil, they were planning to breed artificial cows, but DNA errors ruined everything

We live in a very interesting time. Scientists clone cats, breed genetically modified varieties of vegetables and fruits, and even create GMO mosquitoes. And recently, researchers began to glance with open interest at dairy cows. The fact is that if you deprive these artiodactyls of their horns by editing the genome, many farmers will not have to spend energy and money on their removal. Horns are the only weapon of cows, given to them by nature. But today, predators do not pose a threat to cows, and therefore by their horns they can injure not only each other, but also humans. Therefore, farmers are much more pleasant to deal with hornless cows. But not so simple. In attempts to breed herds of hornless artiodactyls, scientists have discovered that there are errors in the edited DNA of cows.

Holstein cow with removed horns

Hornless Cows of Brazil

All fuss rose due to the fact that not alldairy cows are hornless by nature. Evolution did not reward horns like Aberdeen Angus and Hereford. The rest were much less fortunate, including the widespread Holstein cloven-hoofed breed around the world. Scientists from various countries have been working on attempts to bring out cows that have not been awarded horns for several years.

This is what an Aberdeen Angus cow looks like

A few months ago, Brazil was ready.create the first herd of genetically bred dairy cows in the country. In October 2018, Brazilian lawmakers came to the conclusion that the work of the American biotechnological company Recombinetics in the production of gmo-cows does not require increased monitoring and control. In the end, scientists simply tried to convey to dairy cattle a natural feature of the absence of horns for some breeds.

Find out what other animals scientists want to change on our channel in Yandex.Zen.

Recombinetics from Minnesota (USA), startprepare sperm deliveries from one of the two Holstein bulls with the edited genome. With it, the breeders wanted to breed about 10 calves in order to prove that the edited genes can be inherited. Also, experts were going to monitor the health of the bred individuals for several years, while they lived in Brazil. If everything went well, scientists would try to make changes to the more elite breeds of dairy cows. However, suddenly all plans were canceled. The cause was errors in the DNA.

DNA error

It turned out that GMO cows were present in the genomenot just the gene for impassability In the process of editing the genome, a piece of bacterial DNA necessary for delivering the impassability gene to Holstein cells, called a plasmid, was accidentally inserted into its genome. In fact, the plasmid is partly a bacterium. According to scientists, the fact of their entry into the genome is not necessarily problematic. You can discuss whether scientists crossed the border with editing the genome of living beings in our Telegram chat.

In the process of editing the genome, it was not only the genelessness gene that got into it

However, everything happened in the laboratory, not onpasture. And the bacterial particles included several antibiotic resistance genes that are commonly found in plasmids. This was enough for the Brazilian government to abandon its plans. By the way, scientists from the US Food and Drug Administration last year noticed the presence of plasmids in DNA. Researchers stumbled upon this problem when they studied the generally accessible Holstein genome sequence using new equipment. So, in fact, the fault was the lack of control over the genome editing mechanism.

Why does the world need so many cows?

In fact, scientists around the world do not get tiredto repeat that red meat is not so healthy. So, the results of the latest studies say that the consumption of a large amount of red meat correlates with the risk of developing breast cancer in women. In addition to the connection between the consumption of large amounts of beef and pork and the development of cancer, it is also worth considering the impact of our eating habits on the environment.

It is interesting: in the future you will not go to the store for food, but the food from the store will be for you

As you may know, in order toto feed numerous cow herds, forests are being massively felled on the planet, and during the course of their lives, cows themselves release a lot of methane into the atmosphere. It turns out that the more we breed cows, the closer the climatic apocalypse gets closer to us.

However, there is good news. We can switch to artificial meat. Today it is a very promising area, one might even say that meat from a test tube in a sense will save the planet. Do you like meat? If so, can you give it up?