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  • Miranda Reiman, Angus Media

Gene Editing and Angus: Kuehn and Mueller Tackle Possibilities and Hurdles

Gene editing technology could change the cattle business, but there are a lot of questions to answer before it becomes mainstream.

Larry Kuehn and Maci Mueller

Geneticists Larry Kuehn, U.S. Meat Animal Research Center (USMARC) and Maci Mueller, University of California, Davis, recently joined The Angus Conversation podcast to discuss the future of gene editing.

There’s risk in “getting left behind,” if the breed ignores it, Mueller says, “whether it’s other countries that are pursuing the technology or other breeds and species.”

Yet, that doesn’t mean just jumping in without careful research and consideration for lasting effects.

“We need to do our due diligence as far as knowing what we're doing,” she says. “We mentioned how we can make rapid progress, and so with rapid progress can come rapid gains or rapid challenges.”

Gene editing could help solve many economically relevant challenges, from environmental adaptability to disease tolerance, Kuehn says.

“The most likely early candidates here are things that have large effects and often single gene effects because we know how to find them and we know where they're at, and we know they have an economic impact in many cases,” he notes.

For example, the slick gene has been determined “low risk” by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and may be one of the first to see wider application in the cattle industry.

Researchers have made much progress, and yet still have more work to do when considering traits with multi-gene effects.

To hear the whole discussion, listen to the most recent episode of The Angus Conversation:


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