Dogs are often referred to as man’s best friend, but it’s not certain how this relationship developed in the first place. Did early humans purposefully domesticate dogs from their wild ancestors, or did we just stumble upon nearly tame dogs and develop a bond? Experiments such as the domesticated fox demonstrate that it’s not too hard to tame certain animals in a relatively short period of time. Perhaps we’re on the cusp of even more advanced domestication techniques, and hyper-intelligent parrots are just around the corner. GMO pets could be our next best friends.
- Micropigs are genetically modified pigs that were originally created to serve as a convenient animal model for studying human diseases, but they’re just so darn cute that they’ll be sold as pets, too. Pigs are naturally closer to human physiology than rats or mice, but growing full-size (~200 lb) mature pigs is a daunting task for a research lab. A micropig that’s about the size of a small dog is a more efficient for studying — and there just happens to be a market for people who want tiny pigs as pets. [url]
- Genetically engineered dogs are an obvious target for creating customized dogs for various purposes, as pets or police/military or hunting tools. Super-strong beagles may be the first genetically modified dog breed using CRISPR techniques, and the resulting dogs could start a germline editing revolution for a number of different animals… including our own offspring. [url]
- A hairless guinea pig was created in a Canadian lab in the mid-70s, and now, these “skinny pigs” are becoming a pet. The research variety is available from 1-800-LAB-RATS if you ever need to do some dermatological testing. [url]
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