Beagles are buffing up big time | NevadaAppeal.com

Beagles are buffing up big time

Kathleen Williams-Miller

Yesterday I found myself giggling over an old Peanuts comic strip. Snoopy was always my favorite character because he played baseball, carried his dish around and kissed Lucy. Snoopy is no puppy because the comic strip was first published in 1950. In dog years he's long gone, but in my memory he lives on.

Snoopy is a beagle, and when I read about Chinese scientists genetically engineering beagles, it caught my attention. The scientists are editing the genes of beagles to create extra-muscular dogs. Imagine Snoopy with a six pack.

The mutant dogs have more muscle and are expected to have stronger running ability, which is good for hunting, police and military applications. The Chinese are the first to produce super-muscled dogs using CRISPR, a powerful gene-editing technique. The CRISPR technique is cheap, and biologists have used this genetic cut-and-paste tool to modify human embryos, produce supersized fruit and create double-muscled pigs. This has been applied to other animals too, including goats, rabbits and monkeys. This technique is being used for research on specific mutations including Parkinson's and muscular dystrophy.

By studying whippets, who are naturally buff, scientists were able to isolate the gene responsible for the creation of double-muscled "bully whippets," who are much stronger than standard whippets. Using this information they were able to turn off the gene that regulated normal muscle mass and produce double the muscle in beagles.

In the future it may be possible to design dogs made to personal specifications. So, we may be going toward a whole new breed of muscle dogs. I'm envisioning Snoopy with biceps that bulge and washboard abs. Wouldn't that put a whole new twist in the game of tug-a-war?

IN NEED OF

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Aluminum cans, which we recycle to augment our shelter funds. We are now able to pick up cans from you. If you have cans to pick up, call 775-423-7500.

Emergency funds for spay/neutering our cats and kittens.

SHOUT OUT TO

Etched in Stone for all of your help with donations. A Four Paws Salute to you!

The wonderful lady who adopted Tubby, he is one happy boy!

D&D Plumbing for working on our air conditioners. You are way cool and we are too!

COME SEE US

CAPS will be at Walmart on Aug. 18 with the Kissin' Booth and a puckered-up pooch. Come by to get your pooch smooch. We have colorful caps and shirts, so be sure to check out the merchandise after you have loved on our pup.

DON'T FORGET

Kim Lamb will be taking photos of pets at Flower Tree Nursery from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. Bring your furry, feathered or scaly pet for this incredible photo opportunity. Your pet will be featured in the CAPS calendar. The cost is a 15-pound bag of dog or cat food.

July Pet Holiday: Fix your dog house, Saturday.

Flower Tree Nursery will again be raffling a 20-gallon tree on Sept. 15, and the winner doesn't have to be present. The raffle tickets are available at Flower Tree, and they are $1 for one ticket and $5 for six tickets.

CONTACT CAPS

CAPS' mailing address is P.O. Box 5128, Fallon, 89407. CAPS' phone number is 775-423-7500. CAPS' email address is caps@cccomm.net. Please visit the CAPS website (www.capsnevada.com) and Facebook page (Churchill Animal Protection Society). Be sure to "Like" CAPS on Facebook because we are really likeable.

CAPS is open to the public on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Do you have questions, comments or a great story? Contact me, jkwmil@outlook.com.

Kathleen Williams-Miller is a CAPS volunteer.