UK - Gene-Edited Animals to Boost Food Production

Arno Froese

Scientists have created gene-edited pigs, goats and cattle to produce sperm with traits such as disease resistance and higher meat quality in what they say is a step towards genetically enhancing livestock to improve food production.

Yet gene-editing has long been a contentious subject, and the latest advance could face resistance from critics opposed to the genetic modification of animals, which they regard as dangerous tampering with nature.

The researchers stressed that the gene-editing process they used was designed only to bring about changes within an animal species that could occur naturally.

This research was a “proof of concept,” they said, and showed that the technique could work. Current regulations, however, mean that gene-edited surrogate sires could not be used in the food chain anywhere in the world, even though their offspring would not be gene-edited, the researchers added.

Reproductive biologist Jon Oatley’s team used CRISPR-Cas9 to knock out a gene specific to male fertility in the animal embryos that would be raised to become the surrogate sires. The male animals were then born sterile, but began producing sperm after researchers transplanted stem cells from donor animals into their testes. “This shows the world that this technology is real. It can be used,” said Bruce Whitelaw, an expert at the Roslin Institute at Britain’s Edinburgh University who worked on the team. “We now have to ... work out how best to use it productively to help feed our growing population.” 

-news.trust.org, 14 September 2020

Arno's commentary

“Tampering with nature” has become quite popular, and advanced science has made it attainable. Thus, “genetic modification” will continue and one day be applied to humans.

We read at the beginning of the article, “Scientists have created...” Actually, there is no such thing, when we view it from Scripture. Real creation is the result of the spoken word. John 1:3 proclaims: “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.”

But the tendency is clearly revealed: mankind will never cease to invent things, which on the surface are very helpful for society. Yet viewed from Scripture, we recognize the hidden desire—man wants to be God. He desires to “create.”

Already at the beginning, in Genesis 11 we read of the people planning to build a tower, “…whose top may reach unto heaven.” That is the same spirit dominating planet earth today. In the Tower of Babel case, God made this statement: “…and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do” (verse 6b).

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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