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Gene-edited farm animals are on their way

June 20, 2018 4:18 pm

Scientists have created pigs that are immune to one of the world’s costliest livestock diseases.

The team edited the animals’ DNA to make them resist the deadly respiratory disease known as PRRS – a move that could prevent billions of pounds in losses each year.

However, consumers have traditionally been reluctant to eat genetically altered animals and crops.

This poses a significant barrier to farmers owning gene-edited pigs.

And because genome, or gene, editing (GE) is relatively new, the absence of regulation currently prevents their sale anyway.

GE is different to the more widely used technology of genetic modification. The former involves the precise alteration of an organism’s DNA, while the latter is characterised by the introduction of foreign genetic sequences into another living thing.