Developments in genetic modification of cattle and implications for regulation, safety and traceability


Source: Frontiers Journal

Jan Pieter VAN DER BERG1  , Gijs A. KLETER1 , Evy BATTAGLIA1 , Martien A. M. GROENEN2 , Esther J. KOK1

Author information 
1. Wageningen Food Safety Research, Wageningen University and Research, 6700 AE Wageningen, the Netherlands
2. Animal Breeding and Genomics, Wageningen University and Research, 6700 AH Wageningen, the Netherlands


Genetic modification techniques, in particular novel gene editing technologies, hold the yet unfulfilled promise of altering genetic traits in farm animals more efficiently than by crossbreeding, allowing for a more rapid development of new cattle breeds with distinct traits. Gene editing technologies allow for the directed alteration of specific traits and thereby have the potential to enhance, for instance, disease resilience, production yield and the production of desired substances in milk. The potential implications of these technological advancements, which are often combined with animal cloning methods, are discussed both for animal health and for consumer safety, also with consideration of available methods for the detection and identification of the related products in the food supply chain. Finally, an overview is provided of current regulatory approaches in the European Union (EU) and major countries exporting beef to the EU, for products from animals bred through established practices as well as modern biotechnologies.

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