All female offspring

Dairy farming, in most situations, would quite like to make sure all calves were female.

Some researchers at Tel Aviv University in Israel think that they can use GE (Genetic Engineering) to produce cows that will have only female calves, or mainly so. This would make dairy farming less wasteful of male calves which often go for veal or are just slaughtered. The researchers think that CRISPR gene editing can be used to see that an embryo carrying an “x” and a “y” chromosome (i.e. a male embryo) fails to develop but one with two “x” chromosomes (i.e. a female) is allowed to carry on through pregnancy normally.  Nothing else is altered. Another example of safe, precision biological engineering.

(“GM” was an interesting breakthrough but not always as precise as we would have liked.  The development of gene editing and gene snipping is much more accurate and a very safe way of improving food production and animal welfare.)

Bill Butterworth,  Land Research Ltd, 17 February 19

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