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‘Surrogate sires’ could create specially bred livestock, say scientists

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Trials on mice show how sterile animals can produce sperm deriving from elite breeders

Scientists have used gene-editing to create pigs, goats and cattle that can serve as so-called “surrogate sires” – male animals providing sperm that carry the genetic traits of elite donor animals – in a bid to tackle global food insecurity.

For thousands of years, farmers have selectively bred livestock to champion superior traits such as disease resistance and heat tolerance, but techniques such as artificial insemination are often limited by technical and logistical challenges.

Related: British farmers need all the help science can offer. Time to allow gene editing | Sir David Baulcombe

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