Genus plc, a global pioneer in animal genetics, announces it has signed an exclusive, worldwide licence with Washington State University for patents and know how targeting Bovine Respiratory Disease (‘BRD’), using gene editing technology.
BRD is a complex, bacterial and viral infection that causes lung disease in cattle, particularly calves, and is often fatal.
In the US beef industry, BRD continues to be a primary cause of mortality and the disease also contributes to losses in animal performance, quality and well- being.
In the US dairy industry, BRD is also a major disease, causing mortality in weaned calves and reduced dairy performance later in life. Overall economic losses are extensive and include losses due to animal death, decreased weight gain and additional labour and treatment costs.
Speaking about the licensing agreement, Dr Jonathan Lightner, Chief Scientific Officer and Head of R&D at Genus, said: “This early stage research project will likely take several more years to demonstrate proof of concept. If the research is successful, the gene edited animals will be resilient to BRD, reducing the mortality associated with this devastating disease.
“This is another step in Genus’s strategy to harness the power of gene editing technology and will put Genus at the forefront of developing a solution to combat BRD. This is an exciting move for us: the latest step on our journey to developing and harnessing gene editing to benefit our customers and improve animal well-being. Genus is dedicated to the responsible exploration of new innovations that benefit the well-being of animals, farmers, and ultimately consumers.”