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Twenty-five years ago, Van Eenennaam was a student at Davis in the early days of the GMO craze. Animal scientists, long limited by the pace of traditional trial and error breeding, could now mix and match genetic traits from different organisms, giving their livestock strange new powers. At Davis, for instance, they engineered a line of goats that carried a human protein called lysozyme in their milk. (Later on, researchers realized that, when fed to children in the developing world, that milk could prevent diarrhea.) As a young faculty member at Davis in the mid-2000s, Van Eenennaam explored a method for modifying cows to produce milk with extra omega-3s. Then, just as she prepared to begin experiments in actual cattle, she says, the money dried up.
Around that time, the Food and Drug Administration had decided to classify genetic modifications to food animals as veterinary drugs. At specific issue were transgenes—DNA ported from one species into another—which, in the agency’s view, altered “the structure or function” of the animal. This meant that scientists would have to submit to an expensive approval process before anything reached the grocery store. There were calls for reform, but policymakers lacked the will to implement regulatory changes that would both promote research and assuage people’s growing fears about GMOs. With no path to commercialization in sight, and with the looming threat of a public backlash, the institutions that had funded the work ended their support. Only one animal from that period, the AquAdvantage Salmon, has since been approved for human consumption, though no one in the US is eating it yet, owing to regulatory hand-wringing over how it should be labeled. The lysozyme goats still amble, idly, around a pasture on the Davis campus.
Van - Eenennaam - Crispr - Experiments
Van Eenennaam argues that Crispr experiments like hers—those not involving transgenes—should be treated...
(Excerpt) Read more at: WIRED
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