Transgenic Research

, Volume 25, Issue 3, pp 321–327 | Cite as

Genetically engineered livestock for agriculture: a generation after the first transgenic animal research conference



At the time of the first Transgenic Animal Research Conference, the lack of knowledge about promoter, enhancer and coding regions of genes of interest greatly hampered our efforts to create transgenes that would express appropriately in livestock. Additionally, we were limited to gene insertion by pronuclear microinjection. As predicted then, widespread genome sequencing efforts and technological advancements have profoundly altered what we can do. There have been many developments in technology to create transgenic animals since we first met at Granlibakken in 1997, including the advent of somatic cell nuclear transfer-based cloning and gene editing. We can now create new transgenes that will express when and where we want and can target precisely in the genome where we want to make a change or insert a transgene. With the large number of sequenced genomes, we have unprecedented access to sequence information including, control regions, coding regions, and known allelic variants. These technological developments have ushered in new and renewed enthusiasm for the production of transgenic animals among scientists and animal agriculturalists around the world, both for the production of more relevant biomedical research models as well as for agricultural applications. However, even though great advancements have been made in our ability to control gene expression and target genetic changes in our animals, there still are no genetically engineered animal products on the market for food. World-wide there has been a failure of the regulatory processes to effectively move forward. Estimates suggest the world will need to increase our current food production 70 % by 2050; that is we will have to produce the total amount of food each year that has been consumed by mankind over the past 500 years. The combination of transgenic animal technology and gene editing will become increasingly more important tools to help feed the world. However, to date the practical benefits of these technologies have not yet reached consumers in any country and in the absence of predictable, science-based regulatory programs it is unlikely that the benefits will be realized in the short to medium term.


Transgenic GE Livestock Review TARC 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Animal ScienceUniversity of CaliforniaDavisUSA
  2. 2.Department of Population Health and ReproductionUniversity of CaliforniaDavisUSA

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