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No more surgery? : Scientists develop a vaccine to mass sterilize stray cats



Large numbers of feral cats endanger urban biodiversity, as feral cats are predators and detrimental to species such as birds. Therefore, their population should be controlled. US researchers have developed a single dose injection that is an effective, rapid and safe solution to more aggressive methods such as euthanasia and surgical sterilization.

Developed by an American research group contraceptive injection A single dose (Felis silvestris catus).

Because it’s a gene therapy that cancels ovulation, it could be a less invasive feline population control strategy than surgical sterilization, and promising results were announced this Tuesday. Nature Communications.

It is estimated that there are about 600 million domestic cats in the world, 80% of which are feral cats. These animals are usually in a state of precarious health and low well-being. Additionally, they hunt specimens of other species in large numbers, according to the study authors.

“Overpopulation of feral cats can also have a negative impact on wild birds and other wildlife,” he explains. Synchronization David Pépin, from Harvard Medical School (Boston, USA), is a co-author of the study.

To control the cat population, euthanasia has traditionally been applied to healthy cats living in overcrowded shelters when surgical sterilization was not possible. In this sense, Pépin is a sterile mechanism that does not require aggressive techniques such as surgery, while at the same time allowing “to address the important ethical, economic and environmental issues associated with roaming companion animals.” I think development is urgent. words.

Now, in this proof-of-concept study, nine sexually mature female cats were treated with the participation of the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens. None of the 6 contraceptive cats became pregnant during the two mating trials, each lasting 4 months. In contrast, her three females in the control group had offspring.

In addition to suppressing induced ovulation (which in certain species occurs whenever there is stimulation of the cervix), progesterone levels in injected cats were lower than in controls. As we know, this hormone is important during the pregnancy process as it prepares the uterus for the implantation of a fertilized egg.

Therefore, contraceptive therapy consists of administering a transgene for anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH), a glycoprotein that inhibits the development of the Müllerian ducts involved in the formation of the cervix, uterus and fallopian tubes. Similarly, this marker has been shown to have an inhibitory effect on follicular maturation in mice.

“The AMH gene is highly abundant in vertebrates and plays a consistent role in sexual differentiation and reproduction,” say Harvard Medical School researchers. For this, “This method is very likely to work in other mammals and is currently being tested for use in dogs.” addition.

The research team, who conducted health checks on the cats for two years after the injection, No side effects were observed.

Although further trials are needed to confirm safety and efficacy, this method may offer a quick and easy-to-use option for inducing permanent contraception in domestic and feral cats.

“There is potential for this technology to be used to control invasive species,” Pépin said. But biologists agree that “for each species, we must match the AMH sequence to its genome.”

Source: Biobiochile

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