Scientists have collaborated to produce the first gene-edited calf with resistance to bovine viral diarrhea virus, a virus that costs the U.S. cattle sector billions of dollars annually.
Over the past 20 years, the scientific community discovered the main cellular receptor and the area where the virus binds to that receptor, causing infection in cows. Scientists modified the virus binding site in this recent study to block infection.
The first gene-edited calf, named Ginger, was born healthy on July 19, 2021. The calf was observed for several months and then later challenged with the virus to determine if she could become infected. She was housed for a week with a BVDV-infected dairy calf that was born shedding the virus. Ginger’s cells displayed significantly reduced susceptibility to BVDV, which resulted in no observable adverse health effects.
USDA says the study demonstrates the possibility of reducing the burden of bovine viral diarrhea virus-associated diseases in cattle by gene editing.
From the National Association of Farm Broadcasting.
National Correspondent / AgNet Media, Inc.
Sabrina Halvorson is an award-winning journalist, broadcaster, and public speaker who specializes in agriculture. She primarily reports on legislative issues and hosts The AgNet Weekly podcast. Sabrina is a native of California’s agriculture-rich Central Valley.