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Quick fix: Gene therapy could offer less invasive pet contraception

| | June 4, 2018

Might gene therapy provide a one-time, far less invasive way to ensure that cats and dogs do not beget kittens and puppies? That’s one of the goals of the Alliance for Contraception in Cats & Dogs.

Gene therapy to treat a human disease provides functioning copies of a missing or mutant gene. For pet contraception, gene therapy would block key molecules that are essential for sculpting working eggs and sperm. Like gene therapy for human disease, the overall goal is a one-time treatment, in contrast to a drug that must be given at regular intervals.

Vectored contraception targets somatic cells, like muscle cells, and not sperm and eggs (the germline), so it impairs only the dogs and cats that receive it.

Pets aren’t the only animals whose populations might be controlled with vectored contraception. Researchers envision applications for farm animals, zoo residents, and wild animal populations.

The market for vectored contraception would be huge, with estimates of 200 million stray dogs worldwide, the corresponding numbers of the more-independent felines certainly greater. Implementation would require trapping (I won’t venture into the pros and cons of trap-neuter-return here). But a quick intramuscular injection would be much faster and simpler than spaying and neutering.

Read full, original post: A New Goal for Gene Therapy: Pet Contraception

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