Gene-Edited Designer Animals Hits A Wall.

In Creativity and Innovation, Genetics by Brainy Days Ahead

Investors hoping to buy shares in BGI, China’s largest genomics company, may need a lot of patience. China in particular has raced ahead with gene-editing technology, creating long-haired goats, muscular dogs, and of most interest commercially, genetically-edited pigs. Now the company says they will not be marketing the pigs to consumers at all. What happened? Scientists originally hoped that sales of gene-edited animals for food or other uses would not be regulated because the technology does not require inserting DNA from one species into another. However, regulators such as those at the U.S. FDA are cautious and making decisions that will pile up years of paperwork and delays for such projects as creating hornless cattle and removing diseases from dogs. As for designer pets, the future appears to be on hold. Perceptions can be changed, of course. But BGI will need time as well as patience to turn the doubters around.