US regulatory delays hampering the advance of genetically-engineered dairy cows

Scientists in the US have started seeking sites and markets abroad like Argentina, Brazil and Canada for their genetically engineered hornless dairy cows amid a lack of regulatory guidance and inadequate funding at home. One such company is Recombinetics, an animal biotechnology company based in Minnesota, whose gene-edited dairy cattle are hornless – something that would benefits both animal welfare and dairy farmers who would no longer have to surgically remove the horns from conventional cattle to prevent the animals from hurting each other or their handlers. Recombinetics petitioned the FDA to declare its gene-edited cattle “generally recognized as safe”, since these cattle also occur naturally, the company argued, noting that it used genome editing to turn off only one gene. Yet while the FDA declined their petition, Brazilian regulators have given them the green light. Now Recombinetics is focusing on Brazil and other markets including Argentina, Australia and Canada to market both its cattle and its genome-edited, heat-resistant cattle.