China’s mutton consumption in 2019 was 5.27 million t, while mutton production was only 4.88 million t. Jiangsu’s “lake sheep” 湖羊 are a local breed registered in the national livestock and poultry breed protection list. They show high fertility, resistance to high humidity and high temperature environments, and are easyly bred in stables. 

According to CAO Shaoxian of the herbivore research laboratory, Institute of Animal Husbandry, Jiangsu Academy of Agricultural Sciences, a bovine gene coding for myostatin (mstn) could successfully be edited in lake sheep gene editing tool CRISPR/Cas9 technology. mstn functions as a muscle growth suppressor, and a natural mutation of the gene causes the double muscle trait in Belgian blue cattle, allowing the animal to grow faster, while its muscles are developed like in a bodybuilder. The first myostatin genome-edited lamb was born on September 20, 2020, and five sheep have been born to date. Two of them are clearly faster growing and weigh about 25% more than typical lambs at the age of two months.

Japan JST China news, January 7, 2021