The scientists shared images of the genetically modified hamsters working on it in their cages

Scientists Accidentally Create Super-Cruel HASTERS in Lab After Gene-Editing Test Goes Wrong

Scientists accidentally create super vicious HAMMERS in a lab after gene-editing experiment goes wrong and aggressive rodents chase, bite and pin each other

  • Gene editing lab test accidentally creates horde of furious hamsters
  • Scientists have removed key hormone in hopes it would boost animal collaboration
  • But it made them wild, leading to chasing, biting and pinning between hamsters
  • ‘We [thought] it would reduce the aggression. But the opposite happened’: test chef
  • “We don’t understand this system as well as we thought,” added Professor

Scientists accidentally bred a horde of unusually aggressive hamsters after a gene-editing experiment to “reduce aggression” went awry.

Researchers at Georgia State University produced new rodents without the hormone vasopressin in an effort to improve “social communication” between the rodents.

But the chemical change made the Syrian hamsters wild, leading to cage fighting.

The extremely vicious hamsters were depicted pinning, biting and chasing each other.

The scientists shared images of the genetically modified hamsters working on it in their cages

Hamsters are typically social animals with a low level of aggression and easy cooperation

Hamsters are typically social animals with a low level of aggression and easy cooperation

Lead researcher Professor Elliott Albers said: ‘We expected’ […] we would reduce aggression as well as social communication, but the opposite happened.”

The key hormone Avpr1a was thought to regulate friendship and bonding, and its removal was expected to increase harmony between the animals.

Instead, the lab experiment recorded ‘high levels of aggression towards other persons of the same sex’.

Professor Albers said: ‘We were really surprised by the results.’

People thought that vasopressin affects hamster social behavior including aggression and communication.

CRISPR is a gene-editing technique that allows scientists to ‘cut’ a piece of a person’s DNA

To investigate further, scientists deactivated Avpr1a, removing a receptor that interacts with vasopressin in key brain regions.

Now immune to the hormone, it was thought the rodents would become friendlier.

The results were anything but, with an increased frequency of fighting, biting, chasing and pinning between the hamsters in their cages.

The study’s striking conclusions challenge scientists’ understanding of the relationship between biology and behavior.

The professor added: We don’t understand this system as well as we thought.

“The counterintuitive findings tell us that we need to start thinking about the actions of these receptors in whole circuits of the brain, not just in specific brain regions.

‘Developing gene-edited hamsters was not easy. But it’s important to understand that the neurocircuitry involved in human social behavior and our model has […] relevance to human health.’

Professor Albers said the gene-editing tests are aimed at finding solutions to neuropsychiatric disorders, including autism and depression.

HOW DOES CRISPR DNA EDITING WORK?

The CRISPR gene-editing technique is increasingly being used in health research because it can alter the building blocks of the body.

At a basic level, CRISPR works like a DNA cut and paste operation.

Technically called CRISPR-Cas9, the process involves sending new DNA strands and enzymes to organisms to edit their genes.

In humans, genes act as blueprints for many processes and characteristics in the body — they dictate everything from the color of your eyes and hair to whether or not you have cancer.

The components of CRISPR-Cas9 — the DNA sequence and enzymes needed to implant it — are often sent into the body on the back of a harmless virus so scientists can control where they go.

Cas9 enzymes can then cut strands of DNA, effectively turning off a gene, or remove parts of the DNA that must be replaced by the CRISPRs, which are new sections sent in to change the gene and have an effect that they are preprogrammed have to produce.

But the process is controversial because it could be used to alter babies in the womb — initially to treat disease — but could lead to an increase in “designer babies” as doctors offer ways to alter embryos’ DNA.

Source: Broad institute

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