Genome editing and genetic engineering in livestock for advancing agricultural and biomedical applications
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Genetic modification of livestock has a longstanding and successful history, starting with domestication several thousand years ago. Modern animal breeding strategies predominantly based on marker-assisted and genomic selection, artificial insemination, and embryo transfer have led to significant improvement in the performance of domestic animals, and are the basis for regular supply of high quality animal derived food. However, the current strategy of breeding animals over multiple generations to introduce novel traits is not realistic in responding to the unprecedented challenges such as changing climate, pandemic diseases, and feeding an anticipated 3 billion increase in global population in the next three decades. Consequently, sophisticated genetic modifications that allow for seamless introgression of novel alleles or traits and introduction of precise modifications without affecting the overall genetic merit of the animal are required for addressing these pressing challenges. The requirement for precise modifications is especially important in the context of modeling human diseases for the development of therapeutic interventions. The animal science community envisions the genome editors as essential tools in addressing these critical priorities in agriculture and biomedicine, and for advancing livestock genetic engineering for agriculture, biomedical as well as “dual purpose” applications.
The primary author was supported by Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Competitive Grant # 2015-67015-22845 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, and Maryland Agricultural Experiment Station.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
Drs. Bhanu Telugu and Ki-Eun Park are co-founders of RenOVAte Biosciences Inc, a large animal genome editing company.
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