The new “global-warming-resistant” cows will have short hair to help them cope with the heat
Just three months before approximately 10,000 cows mysteriously dropped dead in a Kansas heat wave, the FDA rushed gene-edited, heat-tolerant beef cattle through the approval process in record speed, with very little publicity.
The cattle’s genomes have been edited using CRISPR technology, so that they have slick, short coats helping them withstand heat.
Cattle that aren’t stressed by heat can pack on weight more easily in feedlots, making for more efficient meat production, the LA Times notes.
Short-haired cows are the third genetically altered animals approved by the FDA for human consumption — the first being salmon and the second being pigs. Although, GMO salmon hasn’t got much traction in the marketplace, and GMO pigs are mainly being used for medical purposes rather than food.
Heat-tolerant cows are brought to you by the same biotech company (Recombinetics) that created gene-edited hornless cows, which, according to MIT, “have a major screw-up in their DNA.”
During the approval process, FDA scientists found that in addition to bovine DNA, the hornless cattle also contained “a stretch of bacterial DNA including a gene conferring antibiotic resistance,” and were therefore not approved.