Source: Smithsonian Magazine

A UK-based company, Genus, is genetically modifying pigs to resist a deadly virus, porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS), in hopes of FDA approval by late 2024 or early 2025. The virus costs global farmers $2.7 billion annually, primarily affecting the U.S. Using CRISPR technology, they disable the CD163 gene, essential for the virus’s replication. Genus plans to sell semen from modified pigs within years, requiring further breeding for full resistance.

FDA approval necessitates proving safety, heritability, and effectiveness. Supporters argue for reduced animal suffering, while critics fear worsened factory farming and animal welfare. Some believe addressing farming conditions is more important than genetic engineering. Genus seeks approval in multiple countries, including China, Colombia, and Mexico. If successful, this would mark the first widespread use of genetically modified animals for meat consumption.

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