Unexpected effects of gene editing: angry, bitey hamsters

unexpected effects of gene editing can turn a nice hamster into an aggressive one
Photo by Sharon Snider on Pexels.com

In the last years, CRISPR-Cas9 technology has revolutionised gene editing, having enormous research and clinical potential. However, gene editing can be tricky and have unexpected effects, like recently reported in the journal PNAS, where tweaking a gene produced aggresive hamsters instead of the calm, zen animals the researchers were aiming for.

Arginine-vasopressin (AVP) and its brain receptor Avpr1a have been implicated in social behaviour in several animal models, among which Syrian hamsters are one. To study social behaviour in this model and investigate the role of AVP in aggression, Jack Taylor and colleagues decided to completely impair the function of the AVP system in said rodents by inactivating the receptor by gene editing with CRISPR.

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