Feline ‘modification’ might just stop your sneezing

2 minute read

Cat haters will soon need another excuse.

The Back Page and colleagues are sustained through their gruelling work week by the sharing of pet photos, and we mourn for anyone whose allergies stop them from keeping furry animals about the house. 

So we’re delighted to present this news from researchers at InBio, a US-based biotech company, has announced progress toward developing a hypoallergenic cat. 

More precisely, the researchers are about helping patients with allergies to the domestic cat and the research is all laid out in a new article in The CRISPR Journal. That’s a peer-reviewed publication covering gene editing research and CRISPR (a family of DNA sequences, known as clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats). 

Now we’re all clear about that, let’s get back to cats. 

About 15% of the US population suffer allergies to domestic felines, which researchers have previously shown is largely attributable to what The Atlantic has called “a pernicious little protein”, an allergen known as Fel d 1, which is shed by all cats. 

The study authors concluded “our data indicate that Fel d 1 is both a rational and viable candidate for gene deletion, which may profoundly benefit cat allergy sufferers by removing the major allergen at the source”. 

The Back Page understands the study paves the way for further experiments exploring the use of CRISPR as a potential genetic therapy to muzzle the release of cat allergens. 

This could herald worrying times for some healthcare professionals, one might think. Should the hypoallergenic moggy eventually arrive on the scene, we foresee cat-lovers getting even more up close and personal with their fluffy pals while keeping at arm’s length, and eventually ditching, their allergist. 

That said, as one integrated medical practitioner told the Back Page, we already live in a “toxic soup” so thankfully there’ll still be plenty of irritating substances around to mess with your skin and respiratory system. Allergist mass unemployment doesn’t look like becoming a thing just yet. 

If you’re itching to share an idea, flick it over to felicity@medicalrepublic.com.au  

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