Being allergic to cats is a great frustration for animal lovers. In a short time it could be a thing of the past, with the help of genetics.
It is estimated that About 15% of the population is allergic to cats. It is a fairly powerful adverse reaction, which causes sneezing, watery eyes, and even asthma symptoms.
According to New Atlas, the allergy is caused by a protein that cats have, an allergen called Fel d 1. It is transmitted through saliva or hair, so it is enough to caress it a little to be exposed to the allergen.
Different species of cats generate different amounts of the allergen Fel d 1That’s why some are more allergic than others. What can you do about it?
Currently there are medications and vaccines that relieve allergies to catsbut they don’t cure it.
The solution to the problem could be a cat genetically modified with CRISPR. It is a revolutionary genetic manipulation technique, invented a few years ago.
CRISPR basically allows cut and paste genes in a simple and effective way. It is already being used to eliminate disease-associated gene fragments, but it has endless applications, which you can see on this card:
InBio, a biotechnology company based in Virginia (United States), is working on a technique that eliminates the gene that produces the allergic protein in cats, using CRISPR.
As New Atlas explains, the researchers identified two regions of cat DNA, which they have named CH1 and CH2, that are good candidates for CRISPR editing.
They tested the CRISPR-CAS9 process in feline epithelial cells, they were able to eliminate the protein of the allergic gene with a success of between 52.2 and 77.6 percent.
A DNA analysis of 8 different cat species determined that the genes containing the allergen vary greatly, which is an indication that this gene does not fulfill a vital vision for the cat, because otherwise it would be more constant. So it could be eliminated with CRISPR, without affecting the animal.
Now the researchers want to repeat the test in primary feline cells and then in cat trials. If all goes well, in a short time they will have a treatment that will eliminate the allergy of adult cats.
It will certainly be well received by cat lovers allergy suffererswho want to have one at home, and cannot fulfill their dream.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism