Not a GMO- Gene Editing Offers Tremendous Benefits in Precision Breeding Advances for Cattle IndustryFri, 04 Mar 2016 04:34:59
The opponents of GMOs in the global food supply are starting to back away from making overt claims that there is a safety issue with any food that contains an ingredient in it that comes from a GMO grain or oilseed or other crop. Instead, they are wrapping their arguments in the flag of "a consumer's right to know." And, at this time, this continues to be a crop based controversy.
Currently, there is only one GMO animal that has been approved for commercial production- the AquAdvantage salmon that has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. FDA says on their website"The FDA scientists rigorously evaluated extensive data submitted by the manufacturer, AquaBounty Technologies, and other peer-reviewed data, to assess whether AquAdvantage salmon met the criteria for approval established by law; namely, safety and effectiveness. The data demonstrated that the inserted genes remained stable over several generations of fish, that food from the GE salmon is safe to eat by humans and animals, that the genetic engineering is safe for the fish, and the salmon meets the sponsor's claim about faster growth.
"In addition, FDA assessed the environmental impacts of approving this application and found that the approval would not have a significant impact on the environment of the United States. That's because the multiple containment measures the company will use in the land-based facilities in Panama and Canada make it extremely unlikely that the fish could escape and establish themselves in the wild."
Fast forward to the US Cattle Industry. There are currently no specific GMO animals being promoted as close to being commecialized- however, scientists like Dr. Alison Van Eenennaam of the Unviersity of California- Davis, are working with a technique that is called gene-editing.
Gene editing in agriculture already has produced pigs and cattle resistant to particular diseases and dairy cows lacking horns, and current research promises to produce chickens resistant to heat, beef herds in which only the more profitable male calves are born, and chicken flocks in which only females needed for egg production are hatched.
Dr. Van Eenennaam is working with the Minnesota-based company Recombinetics on, among other things, a project that has produced some of the Holstein dairy cattle that lack horns by editing one allele to match another found in Angus cattle. "We've still got a dairy cow with all the good dairy genetics," she said. "We've just gone in and tweaked a little snippet of DNA at the gene that makes horns and made it so it's the variant for Angus, which doesn't grow horns."
Radio Oklahoma Network Director of Farm Programming Ron Hays talked with Dr. Van Eenennaam at the recent Cattle Industry Convention in San Diego about her work wth gene editing and how it applies to the beef cattle industry- and how gene editing does not result in what would be a GMO. Part one of their conversation is featured in today's Beef Buzz.
The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Network- but is also a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Click on the LISTEN BAR below for today's show- and check out our archives for older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.
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