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Sterilizing Stray Cats

Millions of cats around the world live as strays, often in bad conditions. It is important to sterilize the animals, but that takes a lot of effort. A new study shows that there might be an easier way.

The usual option is to sterilize the strays via a small operation, but given the large number of animals, this is time-consuming and expensive.

In a study published in the journal “Nature Communications”, researchers have now presented a technique that they believe could be used to sterilize cats faster and more cheaply in the future via a single contraceptive injection. The injection works due to the introduction of a gene vector. In this case, the building instructions for the sex hormone AMH (Anti-Müllerian hormone) were introduced into the cat’s muscles so that they could produce the hormone themselves. Researchers have already been able to show in mice that an unnaturally high AMH level prevents the female egg from maturing. It is not yet known how long this effect lasts, and whether one injection is enough to sterilize a cat for life. (The animals were observed for four years.)

The same applies to possible side effects. A permanent overproduction of a hormone could have negative effects on the animal’s body. There will be more studies and investigations before mass contraception via gene therapy in animal shelters could begin. But the study shows that the principle seems to work.

Source: By Veronika Simon, SWR

Ursula Hahn

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