Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Safer Pastures, Happy Cows!

Gene Editing Makes Cows Without Horns

    Scientists have found a way to produce dairy cows that do not grow horns. Farmers have to routinely cut the horns of their cows because when they fight, they fight with their horns. Keeping the horns long runs the risk of the cows injuring each other. Researchers have found a way, through genetic modification, to insert an allele associated with the trait of lacking horns. The allele is called POLLED, and it is much more common in beef cattle than dairy cattle. Genetic modification was used instead of selective breeding because obtaining this trait through selective breeding could take decades, and the process of genetically modifying alleles is much shorter. 

    This discovery is not only important to farmers, but the cows as well. The dehorning process can be painful, and takes time for the farmers to complete. If the cows are born without horns in the first place, they will not have to endure the painful process of dehorning. These cows, though, are not approved by the FDA to be used for meat or for their milk, due to the negativity surrounding GMOs. The hope is that the FDA will approve these cows to be used for their food products so more farmers can utilize this discovery on their own farms. 

1 comment:

  1. What a crazy idea that the FDA will not approve these cows. I cant see how breeding out a selective trait, such as horns, can cause any change to the cow's worth. I agree that breeding horns out in some could be very helpful for both farmers and the cows.