Crop Biotech Update

Tuberculosis Resistant Cows Produced Using CRISPR-Cas9n

February 8, 2017

A team of researchers from the College of Veterinary Medicine at Northwest A&F University in Shaanxi, China, has successfully used an innovative form of the genome-editing technique CRISPR to insert a new gene into the cow genome to create tuberculosis resistant animals.

According to senior study investigator Yong Zhang, they used a new version of CRISPR called CRISPR/Cas9n to successfully insert a tuberculosis resistance gene, called NRAMP1, into the genome of bovine fetal fibroblasts. The cells were then used as donor cells. The ova were nurtured into embryos in the laboratory, and transferred into mother cows for a normal pregnancy cycle.

Genetic analysis revealed that NRAMP1 had successfully integrated into the genetic code at the targeted region in all of the calves. When the calves were exposed to Mycobacterium bovis, the bacterium that causes bovine tuberculosis, the researchers found that transgenic animals had increased resistance to the bacterium measured by standard markers of infection in a blood sample. They also found that white blood cells taken from the calves were much more resistant to M. bovis exposure in laboratory tests.

For more details, read the news release at GEN News and Highlights.