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Scientists have bred the world’s first spotty sheep that look like “cows” and “spotty dogs” in a controversial genetic engineering experiement.
The genetically modified animals are the brainchild of Liu Mingjun – chief researcher at the state-run Xinjiang Animal Husbandry Research Institute.
He says the lambs, which were born in March using Clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) technology, “have become our lovely pets,” and pave the way for dye-free wool and pets with customised fur.
It is also believed the modified animals could assist with clinical research and supplying animal organs for transplant to human patients.
However, the experiment has caused fears that CRISPR could be used to create designer babies.
CRISPR/Cas9 is an immensely powerful technique invented three years ago which allows DNA to be “cut and pasted” using molecular “scissors”.
It could lead to huge leaps forward in science and medicine, but critics have warned that the pace of change is too fast.