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Livestock breeding for the twenty-first century: the promise of the editing revolution

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Original languageEnglish
JournalFrontiers of Agricultural Science and Engineering
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2020


In recent years there has been a veritable explosion in the use of genome editors to create site-specific changes, both in vitro and in vivo, to the genomes of a multitude of species for both basic research and biotechnology. Livestock, which form a vital component of most societies, are no exception. While selective breeding has been hugely successful at enhancing some production traits, the rate of progress is often slow and is limited to variants that exist within the breeding population. Genome editing provides the potential to move traits between breeds, in a single generation, with no impact on existing productivity or to develop de novo phenotypes that tackle intractable issues such as disease. As such, genome editors provide huge potential for ongoing livestock development programs in light of increased demand and disease challenge. This review will highlight some of the more notable agricultural applications of this technology in livestock.

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