Telugu Awarded NIFA Grant

Dr. Bhanu Telugu in his lab.

March 14, 2018

Dr. Bhanu Telugu has been awarded a five hundred thousand dollar grant from
the National Institute of Food and Agriculture for his grant proposal titled
" Genome Editing To Create Germ Cell Deficient Livestock."

Genetic gain in food animal production is critical for enhancing growth
efficiency, animal health, and product quality. In pig production, genetic
gain is achieved via selective breeding with desirable sires. At present,
artificial insemination (AI) is a widely used option for exploiting this
principle. However, the number of sperm that can be collected from an
individual boar is a major limiting factor for widespread dissemination in
the commercial pig production. Also, AI methodology limits the gains to the
reproductive lifespan of a male. Thus, development of novel approaches for
expanding the output and preservation of germline from desirable sires is of
significant need. Dr. Telugu and his collaborators at Washington State
University will generate lines of boar that completely lack endogenous
spermatogonial stem cell (SSC), and use them as surrogates for exogenous SSC
transplantation and spermatogenesis. To achieve this objective, Dr. Telugu
utilized the CRISPR/Cas9 system to edit the NANOS2 gene in pig embryos that
lack germline but other aspects of testicular development are normal. This
study will for the first time generate SSC-deficient animals by genome
editing and test the feasibility of SSC transplantation in a large animal
species. Arguably this project will have wide ranging applications in
germline preservation technologies.