Cattle Producers Must Win the Hearts and Minds of Consumers to Use Gene Editing TechnologySat, 26 Oct 2019 13:56:18 CDT
Earlier this year, Emily Metz, director for new product marketing for Genus, talked about how gene editing can be a great too in raising healthier animals during a presentation at the National Institute for Animal Agriculture. Metz believes that the animal ag industry has a real problem when it comes to consumer misperceptions about the use of gene editing technology. She says it is important that the industry pay attention to that if it expects to retain the right to use that technology and others like it.
The root of the problem, Metz explains, is that consumers simply do not understand that fundamental reasons why livestock producers breed animals, and how the process derives improved genetics. That, she says, is the basis behind gene editing which allows us the ability to move that process a little quicker down the road.
“Consumers really don’t understand how we’ve bred animals and how that’s something that’s sort of gone on since the dawn of time, to be more efficient, healthier… we breed them for a whole host of characteristics now,” she said. “But, when we start to have this discussion with consumers, we’re going to have to start all the way back at the beginning about why we breed animals because gene editing is really an advanced tool in that breeding process.”
While it is important to explain to consumers what gene editing is, it is equally important to explain what gene editing is not. Metz emphasized in her presentation that gene editing should not be confused with Genetically Modified Organisms, or GMOs. Gene editing does not involve the introduction of foreign DNA, but is rather the targeted manipulation of a specific gene function by turning it either on or off to produce a desired outcome. She explains that the exact same manipulations could be accomplished naturally over time through breeding, it would just take potentially several hundred generations to achieve it. With the use of gene editing technology, the wait time in that process is eliminated entirely.
Listen to Metz explain the importance of gene editing technology to the livestock industry, with Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays on today’s Beef Buzz.
The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Network and is 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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