September 18, 2019
Training up working dogs, such as sniffer dogs and seeing eye dogs, is an expensive and lengthy process, and unfortunately the working life of the trained dogs is only around seven years. For their owner, this means they are required to regularly retire their old dog, which many liken to losing a spouse, and then start working with a new dog relatively frequently.
A team of researchers from Oxford University believe they may have a solution to this problem, gene editing. The team believe that they can use the gene editing tool Crispr-Cas9 to tweak the DNA of working dogs to lengthen their lives. They plan to target a set of genes that help regulate aging in dogs. It is hoped that this intervention will also allow the dogs to continue to live healthy lives, despite their increased age.
If successful, this technique may allow humans and their working dogs to work side by side for twice as long. This additional time together would further strengthen the bond between the pair and ensure successful working relationships that last for many years. While the process will not be cheap, the team suggest that given the amount of time and money spent on training these dogs finding a way to extend their working lives will be beneficial.
Source: Yahoo Finance
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