Would You Buy a Genetically Modified Super Dog?

It sounds like something from a sci-fi movie, but scientists in China have announced that they are now able to create super dogs with specific enhanced abilities.

It’s certainly an odd concept. Scientifically brilliant, but it gives us a lot to think about. Imagine a world where soldiers are created not born, where they are made to be extra strong and super fast. It’s pretty scary and while it sounds impossible, we are actually getting closer to this being a potential reality.

Cloning has always been controversial. Do you remember Dolly the cloned sheep? That was way back in 1996. Up until then, many people believed cloning was impossible, but Dolly proved them wrong. She lived a healthy, normal life until she died in 2003, having reached the average age for her breed.

Little Long Long the super dog

The first Chinese cloned dog is a beagle called Little Long Long. This tiny little pup is scientifically very special. A gene called myostatin was removed from the embryo. This gene controls the size of muscles, in humans as well as dogs. This means that Little Long Long will have muscles twice the size of other beagles, making him twice as strong!

Could this be the future for working dogs?

Putting aside fears of world domination by an army of super strong, super clever wonder dogs, there could be some major advantages for working dogs. Dogs are used in many fields such as law enforcement, where enhanced strength, stamina or speed would be of huge benefit. Perhaps sniffer dogs could be created with an extra powerful sense of smell?

Hugely controversial

It won’t come as a surprise that there is massive controversy surrounding the cloning of dogs. With dogs being physiologically similar to humans, some scientists are looking towards breeding dogs with specific DNA mutations, in order to help human medical research. This could advance research into diseases such as Parkinson’s, but at what cost? Many people will argue that breeding dogs to be born for this purpose is highly immoral and cruel, regardless of any potential benefits.

Where does it all stop?

While a police dog with extra muscles is one thing, where might it lead? The next step might be designer pets, then it’s a only another step away to designer human babies. It’s not as far fetched as you may think and there would be a huge market for it. Already egg donors who are attractive or highly intelligent receive higher fees in the US than those who are of average intelligence and are ordinary looking.

Emily Hutchinson
Emily Hutchinson

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