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Editing Fluffy's Genome

Scientists at Virginia biotech company InBio have made progress in their effort to genetically engineer healthy, hypoallergenic cats, Gizmodo reports.

The researchers turned to the gene-editing technology CRISPR to block the most common source of cat allergies, a protein called Fel d 1 that is found in cats' saliva and tears, as well as in their fur due to cleaning rituals. Thought to cause more than 90 percent of all cat allergies, Fel d 1 has become a prime target for scientists to try and reduce the allergic suffering of cat owners.

In research published earlier this week in The CRISPR Journal, the InBio scientists showed proof of principle for using CRISPR to edit the feline genome to produce little to no Fel d 1 without otherwise compromising the animals' health.

The researchers plan to continue refining and testing their technique in the lab, eventually moving toward live cats genetically bred in the lab to have their Fel d 1 knocked out, and finally toward genetically modified adult cats, Gizmodo reports.