For more than two years, by claiming regulatory jurisdiction over gene-edited livestock, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has stalled the development of an emerging technology with tremendous promise for livestock agriculture, including improved animal care, production efficiency and environmental impact.
Today, the scientists who invented one of the most promising forms of this technology — the "CRISPR/Cas9 genetic scissors" — were awarded the Nobel Prize.
Howard "A.V." Roth, president of the National Pork Producers Council and a hog farmer from Wauzeka, Wis., says "The National Pork Producers Council has repeatedly called for the U.S. Department of Agriculture to be granted regulatory oversight of gene-edited livestock. The USDA has the right experience and an established regulatory framework for gene-edited plants that can easily be extended to livestock."
Roth adds, "The FDA's regulatory land grab has caused American agriculture to fall behind in the global race to develop this technology as countries, such as China, continue to advance its development. The FDA's proposed regulatory framework is unjustifiably cumbersome, slow and prohibitively expensive. Today's Nobel Prize award serves notice: If we don't move oversight of gene-edited livestock to the USDA, we will have ceded this promising technology to global competitors at the expense of American jobs and our nation's global agricultural leadership position."
Gene editing accelerates genetic improvement that would occur naturally over time by making changes to an animal's own genome. For additional information, visit the NPPC's Keep America First in Agriculture website.