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Transgenic Res. 2017 Dec;26(6):715-726. doi: 10.1007/s11248-017-0049-7. Epub 2017 Nov 1.

Genome editing in livestock: Are we ready for a revolution in animal breeding industry?

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College of Life Science, Foshan University, Xianhu University Road, Nanhai, Foshan, 528231, Guangdong, China.
Center for Advanced Models for Translational Sciences and Therapeutics, University of Michigan Medical Center, Ann Arbor, MI, 48109, USA.
Applied StemCell, Inc, Milpitas, CA, 95035, USA.
College of Life Science, Foshan University, Xianhu University Road, Nanhai, Foshan, 528231, Guangdong, China.
Institute of Animal Science, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Beijing, 100193, China.


Genome editing is a powerful technology that can efficiently alter the genome of organisms to achieve targeted modification of endogenous genes and targeted integration of exogenous genes. Current genome-editing tools mainly include ZFN, TALEN and CRISPR/Cas9, which have been successfully applied to all species tested including zebrafish, humans, mice, rats, monkeys, pigs, cattle, sheep, goats and others. The application of genome editing has quickly swept through the entire biomedical field, including livestock breeding. Traditional livestock breeding is associated with rate limiting issues such as long breeding cycle and limitations of genetic resources. Genome editing tools offer solutions to these problems at affordable costs. Generation of gene-edited livestock with improved traits has proven feasible and valuable. For example, the CD163 gene-edited pig is resistant to porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS, also referred to as "blue ear disease"), and a SP110 gene knock-in cow less susceptible to tuberculosis. Given the high efficiency and low cost of genome editing tools, particularly CRISPR/Cas9, it is foreseeable that a significant number of genome edited livestock animals will be produced in the near future; hence it is imperative to comprehensively evaluate the pros and cons they will bring to the livestock breeding industry. Only with these considerations in mind, we will be able to fully take the advantage of the genome editing era in livestock breeding.


Breeding; Genome editing; Industry; Livestock

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