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July 19, 2018

Don’t hold your breath for allergy-free cats

  • Industry
  • Genetics/Genomics

MIT Technology Review – Two US companies say they plan to use gene editing to modify cats so they don’t cause allergies.

Indoor Biotechnologies, based in Charlottesville, Virginia, and Felix Pets, outside of Denver, each say they have filed patents on the idea and that early experiments are under way.

Allergy sufferers probably shouldn’t count on sneeze-free cats soon, though. Both efforts remain small, and cat lovers have been disappointed before.

Back in 2009, a company called Allerca received wide media attention when it promised to use genetic tests to deliver allergy-free kittens. The cost of the cats reportedly ranged from $4,000 to more than $7,000 each.

Yet Allerca’s promises were apparently hollow. In 2013, an ABC report found that a kitten Allerca tried to sell reporters was an ordinary cat from a local pet breeder. (Allerca did not respond to attempts at contact.)

Read more at MIT Technology Review.

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