News

CRISPR-implanted alligator gene into catfish makes it disease-resistant

Advertisement

Eating fish is known for its health benefits, especially due to its omega-3 content. But two serious problems arise. On the one hand, health authorities warn of contamination in our food, with all ecosystems suffering from chemical pollution. On the other hand, wild fish stocks are declining dangerously. Fish farming seems to be a suitable way forward. Recently, researchers tried to make catfish resistant to disease by adding an alligator gene using CRISPR gene-editing technology. In terms of nutrition, fish is the best ally of our health, it is low in calories, rich in high-quality proteins, vitamins (A, B, D, E), minerals (phosphorus, etc.), trace elements (iodine, selenium, copper, etc.) and omega 3. Therefore, it is in high demand at a time when meat and the resources needed to produce it are stigmatized. Unfortunately, the availability of fish resources is facing two main challenges: overfishing and global warming. The consequences of the latter lead to the fact that some sea areas become completely unsuitable for certain species of fish, leading to their extinction. Many species are banned from sale because they are endangered, such as bluefin tuna and sharks. Seems like fish farming is the way to go. So a team of researchers at Auburn University in the US genetically modified catfish, which is consumed by a large portion of the population, using CRISPR gene-editing technology. They implanted the alligator gene into the catfish to make it resistant to diseases common in fish farming. This method is potentially reproducible for other fish. Their research has been published in the journalbioRxivbut has not yet been peer reviewed. The study focuses on catfish as they have become a staple food in the United States. It is common in the wild or in animal husbandry, but animal husbandry is currently preferred. It should be noted that the breeding of catfish, like any fish farm, is an excellent breeding ground for infections. From the moment a farmed fish hatches to the moment it is caught, about 40% of animals (world average) die from various diseases. The authors studied the alligator gene, which encodes a protein called cathelicidin. The protein is antimicrobial. Rex Dunham, who works on catfish genetic engineering at Auburn University in Alabama, told the MIT Technology Review: ” This is thought to help protect alligators from developing infections in the wounds they get from fighting each other aggressively. It seems likely that the animals , in whose genomes the gene is artificially added, may be more resistant to diseases. ” Specifically, after using the CRISPR gene-editing tool to insert the alligator cathelicidin gene into the part of the genome that codes for an important reproductive hormone, the researchers placed two different types of pathogenic bacteria in tanks of water. They found that the genetically modified fish were much more likely to survive than those that had not been tampered with. Rex Dunham explains: ” Depending on the infection, transgenic fish had two to five times the survival rate .” Rex Dunham and Baofeng Su (also from Auburn University and co-author) believe that this will be the case. “ After cooking the fish, the protein created by the alligator gene loses its biological activity, so it is unlikely to affect the person who eats the fish ,” Su says, adding that many people already eat alligator meat. Dunham laughs, ” I would have eaten it in an instant. ” Beyond the ethics of gene editing and controlled environmental impact, this study appears to demonstrate that a CRISPR-based method can be a robust approach to producing sterile, environmentally friendly fish lines with enhanced disease resistance. In fact, it can be an effective means of combating the impending food crisis.

Advertisement
CRISPR-implanted alligator gene into catfish makes it disease-resistant
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Most Popular

To Top
Skip to toolbar