Chinese scientists have created a genetically modified beagle that has roughly twice the muscle mass of an ordinary one. The researchers created the buff beagle by deleting a gene called myostatin that normally limits the amount of muscle the body can create, MIT Technology Review reported.
The dogs have “more muscles and are expected to have stronger running ability, which is good for hunting, police (military) applications,” Liangxue Lai, a researcher at the Guangzhou Institutes of Biomedicine and Health, told the publication.
The scientists say they don’t intend to use the technique to modify pets. Their plan, they’ve said, is to genetically alter dogs to better understand human disease. They are working on creating dogs with genetic mutations mimicking those found in Parkinson’s and muscular dystrophy. “The goal of the research is to explore an approach to the generation of new disease dog models for biomedical research,” Lai said. “Dogs are very close to humans in terms of metabolic, physiological and anatomical characteristics.”