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

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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.

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We would like to thank Xue Chen, Tingting Yu and Chunyi Lu for technical assistance. This work was supported by Special Funds for Cultivation and Breeding of New Transgenic Organisms [No. 2013ZX08006] and the National Natural Science Foundation of China [Grants 30871841].

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Correspondence to Huping Jiao or Daxin Pang.

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Wang, K., Tang, X., Xie, Z. et al. CRISPR/Cas9-mediated knockout of myostatin in Chinese indigenous Erhualian pigs. Transgenic Res 26, 799–805 (2017).

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