Move over golden rice, genetically modified cats are in the works. Syracuse, N.Y., residents Jackie and David Avner, among the 10 percent of the population who have cat allergies, are working to create a feline that won't make their eyes water. Their privately held company, Transgenic Pets LLC (www.transgenicpets.com) is using knockout technology to create kitties that are missing the sole human allergen. David Avner, an emergency medicine physician, got the idea about seven years ago, according to Jackie. "He was testing ways to lower exposure to pet allergens in the home--specialized vacuum cleaners, air filters, and various ways to bathe cats," she says. "His conclusion was that they weren't effective. One evening, he thought, why not just remove the allergen at its source?" The knocked out cat gene encodes a protein that does not seem vital to feline health. Dogs, in contrast, produce several allergens. In...
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