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GM animals - another GM crops?

Abstract

As new biotechnologies are developed, the parallels with GM crops are often drawn. In this paper, I consider GM animals and contrast them with GM crops. I use a systems of innovation perspective to consider innovation, product markets and regulatory systems and suggest that whilst there are some parallels between GM crops and animals there are also clear differences. There are differences in the techniques used, the availability of single genes useful for transfer and the acceptability of 'failures'. Existing animal breeding techniques are competitive with GM technologies and dissemination of GM animals into a population is difficult and time consuming. The structure of the industry is different between crops and livestock with large multinational companies largely absent in the production of farm livestock for breeding. Additionally animal welfare and ethical aspects are widely recognised as important in the context of GM animals, but the likely impacts of welfare and ethicsbased regulation on any GM animal production is not clear. All these differences are potentially important for the future trajectory of the technology. I also suggest that at present, the development of GM animals is being pulled in different directions by the opening up of technological possibilities and the emphasis on animal welfare and notions of animal integrity.

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Correspondence to Ann Bruce.

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Open Access This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License ( https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0 ), which permits any noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.

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Bruce, A. GM animals - another GM crops?. Life Sci Soc Policy 3, 1 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1186/1746-5354-3-3-1

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Keywords

  • Genetically Modify
  • Animal Welfare
  • Genetic Modification
  • Genetically Modify Crop
  • Farm Livestock