Opportunities to improve health, production efficiency and sustainability through applied gene editing
Recent advances in gene editing technologies and in the application of these technologies to livestock animals have created a wealth of opportunity for improving animal health and well being and thereby the production and sustainability of animal protein productions. I review two technology examples in porcine and bovine systems that Genus is engaged in advancing through development. In porcine, recent published work has demonstrated that a simple edit producing a loss of function variant for the gene product CD163 can produce full resistance to the devastating pig disease porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSv) . In cattle, a more subtle edit, involving an edit of the -5 amino acid before the signal cleavage site of the CD 18 gene product from glutamine to glycine has been shown in cell model systems to confer resistance to the Mannheimia haemolytica leukotoxin , hypothesized to improve resilience to bovine respiratory disease (BRD). Among other challenges, the development and successful commercialization of these types of gene editing technologies will require the creation of multiple, consistent, reproducible edits in commercial founder lines of elite genetics. The practical challenges of deploying these technologies in beef, dairy and pork production systems are considered.
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