Bustad Lectures @ WSU: Jon M. Oatley, PhD
March 29, 4:00pm in ADBF 1002
A reception will follow at 5:00pm in the lounge
The Human-Animal Genomic Bond and its Impact on Society
Since the dawn of domestication, humans have been shaping the traits of animals for the benefit of society. For over 12,000 years, selective breeding has been used to produce companion animals and livestock with desirable phenotypes. From selecting for aesthetic and behavioral traits with dogs to improving growth efficiency and quality of meat and milk produced by livestock, the outcomes of selectively breeding animals has impacted the evolution of society in a major way, thus establishing a human-animal bond through genomics. At the heart of selective breeding is the creation of unique combinations of genetics via reproductive processes; in essence, the engineering of genomes. Although, many positive outcomes have occurred through application of selective breeding, phenotypic gains are often incremental and require several generations to manifest, and negative traits are often unintentionally selected for.
The next frontier of the human-animal genomic bond is applying the science of gene editing. At the forefront is the versatile and efficient CRISPR-Cas9 system that capitalizes on natural machinery within animal cells to alter the genome. This next generation tool creates precise genetic enhancements with DNA to achieve desirable phenotypes in a single generation. From correcting genetic mutations that cause disease to generation of animal models for biomedical applications to enhancing livestock production for feeding 10 billion people in the year 2050, gene editing will impact the future of human society on an unprecedented scale over the coming decades.