‘Super Daddy’ Animals With Elite Sperm Could Breed Their Way to Climate Change Survival

Livestock with gene-edited testicles can help humans survive an increasingly food-insecure world

Farmer Georgie
Future Human
Published in
11 min readOct 27, 2020

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Goat #1962, a “Super Daddy” goat. Photos: Jon Oatley

In a Pullman, Washington, laboratory barn, goat #1962 has one purpose: Go forth and multiply.

#1962 is in the world’s first-ever generation of a gene-edited “Super Daddy” or “Surrogate Sire” goat. This means he has the balls (literally) to pass on not his but another, more elite buck’s DNA.

Project leader and reproductive biologist Jon Oatley, PhD, has been working on the concept for 20 years. He believes surrogate sires will be key to breeding livestock that produce more meat, dairy, and fiber while withstanding the effects of climate change.

“As the climate changes and populations grow, we’re asking animals to do more for less,” Oatley tells Future Human. “If you can change the genetics, that is an intrinsic variable in an animal that can influence how easily they convert inputs to outputs.”

Breeding surrogate sires, as Oatley and his team describe in a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, is a two-part process. First, the gene-editing tool CRISPR is used to create sterile male goats, pigs, and…

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Farmer Georgie
Future Human

Farmer. Writer. Journalist. Farm life, food & ag. Email at farmergeorgiewrites@gmail.com. Follow at farmergeorgiewrites.substack.com. Open for assignments.