Special Projects

Genetic Engineering project

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Since mid 2015 I’ve been working on adding a new tool to my breeders tool box. Because of recent advances in the field of genetic engineering the price and technical difficulty are now low enough to be within reach of a dog breeder. Still, this has been the single hardest thing I’ve ever done. The amount of hours put into building a genetics lab, learning the skills, and actually modifying the genes of living organisms has been staggering.

The thing I have learned more than anything is these techniques and tools can be put together in a way that’s even more inexpensive and accessible. I’ve spend this whole time working to simplify these techniques and to find methods and materials that further reduce the price and complexity. Now I have it down to a much simpler and much cheaper method, if I’d known what I know now at the beginning I could have saved myself years of work. This is now something that any dog breeder who can perform an AI can do.

The first of these genetically engineered dogs should be born mid to late 2018. There are a lot more in-depth explanations coming soon to explain these methods and to explain some of the incredible possibilities technologies like CRISPR bring to the table for dog breeders.  This first litter I will add a jelly fish gene that causes the dogs to fluoresce under black light. This is just a marker gene to demonstrate the power of the technique. It’s already been done in many species before, this will be the first time it’s been done by a dog breeder though. This cat and these mice show what the pups will look like.
glow-catmice

The basic idea to understand is that there is a method to alter the DNA of sperm after it’s been collected and before artificial insemination. This method can be used for less than $1000 worth of equipment and reagents to add genes from other species or to precisely edit the existing genes.

I’ve already made these genetic edits in bacteria, yeast and now dog sperm all confirmed by fluorescent microscopy.

Genetically modified Bacteria
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Genetically modified Yeast
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Genetically modified Dog Sperm
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The next step is to actually inseminate with the modified sperm and produce modified puppies.

Here are some videos that go into more explanation.

A bit more detail

https://singularityhub.com/2017/02/26/would-you-want-a-dog-that-was-genetically-engineered-to-be-healthier/

Some media that goes into some of the regulatory issues we’re coming up against.

https://www.technologyreview.com/s/603530/a-biohackers-plan-to-upgrade-dalmatians-ends-up-in-the-doghouse/

https://gizmodo.com/the-fda-is-cracking-down-on-rogue-genetic-engineers-1791760888

 

 

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