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Farm animals may soon get new features through gene editing

4 months 6 days 8 hours ago Thursday, November 15 2018 Nov 15, 2018 November 15, 2018 6:09 AM November 15, 2018 in News
Source: Associated Press
Photo: U.S. News

OAKFIELD, N.Y. (AP) - Cows that can withstand hotter temperatures. Cows born without pesky horns. Pigs that never reach puberty.

A Minnesota company wants to alter farm animals by adding and subtracting genetic traits in a lab. It sounds like science fiction, but Recombinetics sees an opportunity for its technology to be in the livestock industry. Recombinetics says gene editing does what traditional breeding has always done, except faster and more precisely.

It says milk producers already breed based on a bull's pedigree, and that gene-edited trait would just cost extra. To win support for the technology, Recombinetics is introducing gene-edited traits that ease animal suffering.

For instance, it's gene editing cows to be hornless. That would mean the animals don't have to go through painful dehorning procedures. Another project: pigs that never go through puberty, so they don't need castration.

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