If you think genetic engineering is scary, think about how much damage we’ve caused with breeding.
As Kevin Loria writes in a great new article for Tech Insider:
Consider the bulldog with its wrinkled face, the dachshund with its long back, and the pug with its curly tail: animals we’ve created based on our own preferences. We bred those features into creatures but gave them horrible genetic defects along the way. Bulldogs, with their disproportionately large heads, are all born by C-section, while those other two breeds have serious spine troubles because of their characteristic traits.
All 50 of the most popular dog breeds are predisposed to a genetic disorder, according to a 2009 paper in The Veterinary Journal cited by Emily Anthes, author of “Frankenstein’s Cat: Cuddling Up to Biotech’s Brave New Beasts.“
Genetic engineering will let us do it much better.
“We’re [now changing traits] in a more targeted way — we actually know what we’re doing,” Alison Van Eenennaam, an animal genomics and biotech specialist at the University of California at Davis, tells Loria.
Of course, genetic engineering presents its own risks.
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