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Micropigs on Hold

BGI has backed off its plans to sell miniaturized pigs created using gene-editing approaches, Technology Review reports.

"We have no plans to sell micropigs," BGI's Yong Li tells Tech Review.

In 2015, Nature News reported that BGI had created such pigs by using TALENs to switch off growth hormone receptor and other genes in Bama pigs, which were already on the small side. It said the firm had developed the tiny pigs for use as human disease models, but that it also planned to sell them as pets for 10,000 yuan, or about USD$1,600.

Tech Review says that genetic modification has become a sensitive topic in China following food safety scandals and increasing distrust in regulation. Additionally, it says there has been uncertainty regarding how regulators there would handle genetically modified animals. In the US, it notes that regulators are considering gene-edited animals as GMOs and that it appears Chinese regulators may be following suit.

The Scan

Foxtail Millet Pangenome, Graph-Based Reference Genome

Researchers in Nature Genetics described their generation of a foxtail millet pangenome, which they say can help in crop trait improvement.

Protein Length Distribution Consistent Across Species

An analysis in Genome Biology compares the lengths of proteins across more than 2,300 species, finding similar length distributions.

Novel Genetic Loci Linked to Insulin Resistance in New Study

A team reports in Nature Genetics that it used glucose challenge test data to home in on candidate genes involved in GLUT4 expression or trafficking.

RNA Editing in Octopuses Seems to Help Acclimation to Shifts in Water Temperature

A paper in Cell reports that octopuses use RNA editing to help them adjust to different water temperatures.