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Gene Editing Animals


Did you know that animals can now become genetic medicine as has been done with plants, for both herbal and prescription medications?


September 16, 2020

Courtesy AAVMC


We thank Jeff Douglas and Jeanne Johnson of the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) for notifying regarding the creation of a Gene Editing Task Force.


The 11-person panel is comprised of scientists and industry leaders who will map out recommendations for regulating this emerging genomic technology in animal agriculture. The goal is gene editing in order to increase food security and safety.



23 of the nation’s leading experts will examine a series of questions ranging from the nature and safety of this promising technology to its ethical implications.


Such work with animal and plant genomes has vast potential for limiting disease and increasing productivity, but it was agreed that appropriate regulatory processes should be thoroughly considered and structured.


Currently the Food and Drug Administration regulates genetic work on food animals as an “animal drug” and the USDA regulates these technologies with crops.


"This is a very promising area of biotechnology that has the potential to unleash enormous progress in terms of food production and security," said Dr. Noelle Cockett, President of Utah State University and a renowned geneticist who is leading the task force.


Serving on the AAVMC and APLU (Association of Public and Land-grant Universities) are Dr. Jon Oatley, Washington State University; Dr. Bhanu Telugu, Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine; Dr. Londa Nwadike, University of Missouri; Dr. Jonathan Beever, University of Tennessee; Dr. Rex Dunham, Auburn University; and Dr. James Murray, University of California, Davis.


The task force chaired by Dr. Cockett will also include Dr. Andrew Rowan, Wellbeing International; Dr. Kathy Simmons, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association; Clint Nesbitt, Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO); and an as yet unnamed liaison to the Center for Food Integrity.


APLU President Peter McPherson said. "We are very pleased to partner with AAVMC on this task force, which is bringing together some of the foremost leaders in the world to help recommend a path for government to take to regulate this field in a way that protects all involved while allowing the science to flourish."


The APLU and the AAVMC previously teamed up on a multi-year effort designed to address the growing antimicrobial resistance problem. That led to the establishment of the National Institute of Antimicrobial Resistance Research and Education, which is based at Iowa State University and operates in collaboration with a consortium of partner universities and medical institutions.


APLU is a research, policy, and advocacy organization dedicated to strengthening and advancing the work of public universities in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.


AAVMC is comprised of member institutions of the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) to promote and protect the health and wellbeing of people, animals and the environment by advancing the profession of veterinary medicine and preparing new generations of veterinarians to meet the evolving needs of a changing world.


Editor’s Note: Gene Editing, as with all medical advances, begins with animals. We trust that all animals, from monkeys to tadpoles, will be humanely treated. EST 2002 © 20S09



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