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Northwestern University’s gene-editing experiment turns hamsters violent

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A gene-editing experiment performed on hamsters turned the adorable, furry pets into “aggressive” little monsters, researchers said.

Northwestern University scientists used the controversial CRISPR technology to remove the hormone vasopressin and its receptor Avpr1a from a group of living things in the expectation that it would increase cooperation between the living things, according to the study.

The hypothesis was wrong.

“We were really surprised by the results,” H. Elliot Albers, one of the study’s lead researchers, told Metro.

“We hypothesized that if we eliminated vasopressin activity, we would reduce both aggression and social communication.”

After the gene splicing, the hamsters “displayed high levels of aggression toward other same-sex individuals,” the professor said, regardless of sexuality or genotype.

Behaviors included chasing, biting and holding, the study found.

The researchers said they chose to work with Syrian hamsters, which have a social structure similar to humans.

“We don’t understand this system as well as we thought we did,” concluded Albers.

https://nypost.com/2022/05/29/northwestern-university-gene-editing-experiment-turns-hamsters-violent/ Northwestern University’s gene-editing experiment turns hamsters violent

JACLYN DIAZ

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