Question of the Week Podcast

Question of the Week episode

Mon, 27th Feb 2012

Can you cross a kangeroo with a sheep to get a wooly jumper?

(c) US Sheep Experiment Station

How much is now possible with genetic engineering? Plus we ask will the plastics in the sea ever degrade?

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In this edition of Question of the Week

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  • Can modern genetic techniques make new species?

    As the joke goes...if you cross a kangaroo with a sheep you get a wooly jumper. Is it now possible with modern techniques to cross different animals to make one completely new species? PS The show is awesome, keep up the good work. Vinny Rochdale, Greater Manchester.

 

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First, Dolly the Sheep, now what kind of abomination is planned?

There is current research in genetically modifying pigs for xenotransplantation, although it appears as if much of the research is to knock out porcine antigens, rather than expressing human antigens. 

There have also been experiments to express spider silk proteins in goats milk.

It is quite likely that Woolly Mammoths will be cloned in the next few decades or perhaps sooner.  The task will likely at least pattern the woolly mammoth chromosomes based on living elephant chromosomes.

It is likely that both kangaroo fur, and sheep's wool would involve a complex set of several genes.  However, if there was a market for the product, it is possible that it could be done.  I could foresee either choosing to mix genes of wool producing animals (llamas, alpacas, and sheep), or, perhaps specifically breeding better cold (or heat) tolerant livestock by altering the fur producing genes. CliffordK, Mon, 20th Feb 2012

is it possible to use cross species genetics on humans?? -anonymous guest, Wed, 23rd Apr 2014

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