Tuesday, March 8, 2022

U.S. approves gene-edited cattle

The United States has approved marketing of beef from cattle which have had their genes edited so they can tolerate hot weather.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said its decision is based on a scientific review which found that the intentional genomic alteration (IGA) does not raise any safety concerns.

“Today’s decision underscores our commitment to using a risk and science-based, data-driven process that focuses on safety to the animals containing intentional genomic alterations and safety to the people who eat the food produced by these animals,” Steven Solomon, director of the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine, said in a news release. 

“It also demonstrates our ability to identify low-risk IGAs that don’t raise concerns about safety, when used for food production," he explained. 

The gene editing was done by Acceligen Inc., a subsidiary of the biotech firm Recombinetics Inc., which confirmed that the IGA in genome-edited PRLR-SLICK, or "slick-hair" cattle is equivalent to naturally-occurring mutations in several breeds of cattle that are tolerant to humid, hot weather in tropical or subtropical environments. 

Solomon added that FDA expects its decision will encourage other developers to bring animal biotechnology products forward for the FDA’s risk determination in this rapidly developing field, paving the way for animals containing low-risk IGAs to more efficiently reach the marketplace.

So far Canada has not granted approvals for any gene-edited animals or poultry.