Scientists genetically modify cows to remove their horns in health and safety bid to cut the risk of injury to farmers and other animals: Program starts in the Midwest of America, within weeks.

  • Genetically  modified cow will be same as other livestock minus the horns
  • Scientists  to use sophisticated gene-editing technique to add extra DNA
  • Will mean  farmers no longer have to burn off horn buds in young  animals

By  James Rush

PUBLISHED: 19:58 EST, 27  April 2013 |  UPDATED: 20:06 EST, 27 April 2013

Scientists are genetically altering cows so  they have no horns in a bid to make them safer.

The genetically modified dairy cow will be  identical in every way to other livestock but without the horns, in order to cut  the risk of injury to farmers, walkers and other animals.

The scientists are using gene-editing  techniques to insert an extra DNA, which is known to halt horn growth in other  breeds of cattle, into the geneome of holsteins, the world’s highest-production  dairy animals.

The genetically modified dairy cow will be identical in every way to other livestock but without the horns (file picture)The genetically modified dairy cow will be identical in  every way to other livestock but without the horns (file picture)

Geoff Simm, professor of animal breeding who  chairs the government’s Farm Animal Genetic Resources Committee, has championed  the idea in a Defra report on livestock genetics, The Sunday Times has  reported.

The idea is based on research at Scotland’s  Rural College, near Edinburgh, which allows scientists to make precise changes  to DNA.

Scientists at Edinburgh’s Roslin Institute  are working with Scott Fahrenkrug, professor of genetics at the University of  Minnesota, who is looking to create cows without horns by using the  technique.

He has taken a strip of the DNA which  suppresses horn growth and inserted it into cells from a holstein bull called  Randy.

He told The Sunday Times: ‘We have already  made millions of modified cells. Next we will use cloning technology to turn  some of those cells into 40 embryos and implant them into a herd of surrogate  mothers, in the Midwest of America, within weeks.’

The animals will be clones of Randy, minus  the horns, while their offspring should also be hornless.

The scientists are using gene-editing techniques to insert an extra DNA, which is known to halt horn growth in other breeds of cattle, into the geneome of holsteins (file picture)The scientists are using gene-editing techniques to  insert an extra DNA, which is known to halt horn growth in other breeds of  cattle, into the geneome of holsteins (file picture)

Fahrenkrug said: ‘Creating hornless dairy  cows would decrease animal suffering, protect people and cut  costs.’

Farmers have managed to breed out the ability  to grow horns in beef cattle, such as Aberdeen Angus, but it has been found to  be impossible in dairy breeds without affecting milk yields.

It has left many farmers having to burn off  the horn buds when the animals are young, a painful procedure for the  cows

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2315960/Scientists-genetically-modify-cows-remove-horns-health-safety-bid-cut-risk-injury-farmers-animals.html#ixzz2RmxiZalv Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

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Categories: . General Mutations, . Genetically Modified Organisms

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