Imagine man’s best friend all jacked up like Arnold Schwarzenegger during his heyday, looking like he’s ready to pounce on you with those bulging muscles…quite a terrifying thought, isn’t it?
Thanks to scientists in China, dogs can now be transformed to canines of bodybuilder proportions, with the help of genetic engineering. These beagles will be kept at the Guangzhou General Pharmaceutical Research Institute.
According to reports from the MIT Technology Review, scientists have deleted the myostatin gene in order to produce beagles that have double the usual amount of muscle mass.
Liangxue Lai, one of the researchers on the project, disclosed that the dogs have “more muscles and are expected to have stronger running ability, which is good for hunting, police (military) applications”.
Wendy the Bully Whippet
The team of scientists are hoping to produce other genetically-modified dogs and engineer them to develop human diseases like Parkinson’s and muscular dystrophy. Given that the anatomy of dogs is just like those of humans, this endeavor can allow scientists to have a better understanding of how these diseases happen.
In 1997, genetecists produced a strain of mice that lacked the myostatin gene, resulting to extra-muscular appearance. It was called “mighty mice” or “knockout mice”. The first dogs to be seen with this genetic quirk were whippets, in which the loss of the gene can happen naturally. A whippet named Wendy became known as the “strongest dog in the world” because of her bodybuilder-like appearance. Wendy and other “bully whippets” are also stronger than ordinary dogs.
If you’re wondering if this can happen naturally to humans, the answer is yes, although it’s extremely rare. There are reports of a child being born a decade ago without the extra gene and is unusually strong and has extra muscles.
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