Because our experts do not agree

A new study published in a scientific journal puts forward estimates Genetics exploitation To solve this problemAllergies to cats. Such a choice is open to a series of reflections on how moral it can be.

The study was published in the journal Crisper and was signed by scientists at InBio, a Virginia-based biotechnology company. This surprisingly focuses on the cat’s main allergen, a special protein called Fell d About 90% is excreted by the paranal glands and a small amount by cat saliva and sebaceous glands. Contrary to the belief that hair itself causes allergies, Fel d 1 is mainly present on the skin and scalp. Cat saliva, And the hair is transported through grooming activities, the so-called grooming that cats indulge in every day.

According to the company, cats have allergies 15% of the population, And extreme hypersensitivity to Fel d 1 can also lead to asthma. From the date, Biological function Fel d 1, although available studies suggest that this protein may play a role in chemical contact, epithelial defense or immune control.

Change DNA to eliminate cat allergens

The American company conducted a complete bioinformatics analysis on Fel d 1 of 50 felines, with the aim of understanding its phenomena and identifying suitable regions for manipulating the genome through CRISPR technology, a system based on the use of proteins. Cas9, A type of molecular scissor capable of cutting a target DNA, which can be programmed to make specific changes in the genome of a cell, be it animal, human or plant. After comparing the genes of eight exotic cat species, the researchers found high levels of variation and confirmed that Fell D1 may not be essential for animals “due to the apparent lack of evolutionary conservation.”

“Our results – say Brackett – indicate that Fell is an attractive candidate for D1.” Genetic removalThanks to which a concrete way can benefit those who suffer from cat allergies Removal of major allergens“Genetics deletion is actually a genetic mutation that involves the loss of one or more nucleotides in a DNA sequence. Therefore, eliminating Fel d 1 from cats’ skin and tissues, which scientists consider” unnecessary, “and thus eliminating the main cause of cat allergies.

“To date, this is the most comprehensive bioinformatics analysis of allergens and the first study to explore the evolutionary origins of allergens – the researchers concluded – our data study illustrates a practical application of CRISPR technology in allergy or veterinary medicine and evolutionary biology in medicine and evolutionary biology.” Do that.

Bioengineering, skepticism and risk in human service

Announcement of future research development pending, above mentioned problem “Genetic Manipulation” To create animals More suitable for coexistence with peopleAs directed by Sonia Kampa, a human-cat relations consultant and member of Kodami’s scientific committee.

Make the animals suitable for us New frontiers of genetic engineering. There are many reasons to believe that humanity is moving towards making cats more comfortable animals: we have welcomed them into our home for millennia because we have appreciated what they have done, which is to hunt and keep away rats and other animals. We think of it as “harmful.” Now this attitude is no longer appropriate for us, we even accuse them of being among the main causes of wildlife extinction, so let’s go Looking for new ways to shape them

For example, Campa noted, “in order to rewrite their genome There could be more and more “pets”, Useful animals for affection and companionship. I would say that our attitude has not changed, we are just using new tools: once we relied on electoral pressure, today we use bioengineering for new goals.

“We have to think Because Which puts pressure on the idea of ​​genetically modifying cats to make them less allergenic – adds Veterinary Eva Fonty, a member of Kodami’s scientific committee – I understand that there are many people who would like to get a cat, and that Reason can’t do it, but we must consider it The role of this protein is not yet fully understood, We have not yet been able to understand this, since cats study less than dogs. The study in question indicates that this protein has no real use and that it is only an allergen, but we do not know for sure and we do not even know what the consequences could be for genome mutations to make it disappear. Cats “

“From a strictly sympathetic point of view, there is certainly a study of this kind Strong emotional effects For those who are very allergic and have always wanted a cat – keep up the good content – but there are risks. You are becoming a kind of “fashion”, even at a high price. Not everyone is allergic or severely allergic, but many still want “hypoallergenic” cats. Products have already been shipped to cat fur to reduce allergic reactions, and there are also vaccine therapies that lead to lower expression of allergen proteins without any change at the genetic level. So it remains Strong skepticism On such an operation, hopefully it is not yet in any other case Nature is harmed to make people happy

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