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Defra Ministers hails gene editing potential in pigs

6th Mar 2020 / By Alistair Driver

Defra Minister Lord Gardiner has highlighted the potential of gene editing to address one of the pig sector's most difficult diseases - PRRS. 

Lord GardinerHe was asked in the House of Lords about a recent report by the Nuffield Council on Bioethics said, which asked: “Genome editing to improve farmed animal welfare. What’s not to like?”

In his reply, it appeared Lord Gardiner, who has spoken in the past about the potential benefits of biotechnology for farming, had digested the contents of the NPA's briefing on gene editing. 

He said: "Scientists have produced, for instance, pigs that can resist one of the world’s most costly animal diseases—porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus—by changing their genetic code by genome editing.

"This disease clearly affects animal welfare and costs the pig industry £1.75 billion a year in Europe and the United States."