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CRISPR/Cas9-mediated knockout of myostatin in Chinese indigenous Erhualian pigs

Wang, Kankan, Tang, Xiaochun, Xie, Zicong, Zou, Xiaodong, Li, Mengjing, Yuan, Hongming, Guo, Nannan, Ouyang, Hongsheng, Jiao, Huping, Pang, Daxin
Transgenic research 2017 v.26 no.6 pp. 799-805
gene editing, growth performance, hips, homozygosity, landraces, mutants, mutation, myostatin, phenotype, piglets, skeletal muscle, somatic cells, swine breeds
CRISPR/Cas9 has emerged as one of the most popular genome editing tools due to its simple design and high efficiency in multiple species. Myostatin (MSTN) negatively regulates skeletal muscle growth and mutations in myostatin cause double-muscled phenotype in various animals. Here, we generated myostatin mutation in Erhualian pigs using a combination of CRISPR/Cas9 and somatic cell nuclear transfer. The protein level of myostatin precursor decreased dramatically in mutant cloned piglets. Unlike myostatin knockout Landrace, which often encountered health issues and died shortly after birth, Erhualian pigs harboring homozygous mutations were viable. Moreover, myostatin knockout Erhualian pigs exhibited partial double-muscled phenotype such as prominent muscular protrusion, wider back and hip compared with wild-type piglets. Genome editing in Chinese indigenous pig breeds thus holds great promise not only for improving growth performance, but also for protecting endangered genetic resources.