As CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing technology has advanced in the last few years, the number of genetically modified animals made with this system has steadily increased. Some are very interesting and useful for science.
At the same time especially when they are little, they can be very cute.
A nickname is going around for these CRISPR’d animals: CRISPR-y critters.
It turns out that there used be a breakfast cereal called Crispy Critters. It had a very odd looking mascot named Crispy with fuzzy antennae and a voice like Jimmy Durante.
Ironically enough this cereal had some unusual animals in there including some that one might almost imagine were genetically modified. RFP bunny? CFP camel?
The mascot Crispy sure looks like some kind of GMO as well.
So what are the real and of course cutest CRISPR-y critters out there currently?
There are CRISPR-Cas9 edited pigs (see piglets the pic above) and these little guys have the bonus of also being clones.
Piglets are so cute!
Then we have the strange but hilarious, satirical cartoon of CRISPR below (update: image credit goes to DeMayo and Spencer). It is illustrated with a focus on pork products.
The bacon is the DNA in question being targeted by the Cas9 and gRNA. I wish they had made the Cas9 into a knife though to go with the theme better.
This one gives a whole another somewhat disturbing twist to the crisp name here giving the involvement of potentially crispy bacon.
Efforts are also underway to make hornless cattle via CRISPR-Cas9 technology. This would actually be very significant because currently the horns have to be cut off apparently, which is pretty terrible.
Then there are CRISPR’d primates including these super cute GM Rhesus monkeys above.
A CRISPR’d worm may not be seen as particularly cute by many, but I think it looks very cool nonetheless.
It still counts as a CRISPR-y critter too.
What else is out there?
There are CRISPR-y flies, rats, fish, and much much more including bunnies.
The little mousling (yeah, probably not the correct term, but sounds cute) shown below is adorable.
It is a founder from a CRISPR approach at the UC Irvine Transgenic Mouse Facility.
Talk about cute!
These animals have been made for scientific research to advance knowledge of development and disease. There are other possible reasons to make CRISPR-y critters too.
Given the advent and sale of the first GMO pets in the form of Glofish (not made with CRISPR), we can expect cute CRISPR-y critters to be coming to our homes in the future as pets.
What are your favorite CRISPR-y critters?