Acceligen Launches Program for Precision Crossbreeding of African Dairy Production Systems
Sep 10, 2020
Eagan, MN., September 8, 2020 – Acceligen, a Recombinetics Inc. company, today announced that it received a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop bovine genetics optimized with traits desirable to smallholder dairy farmers. The breeding program will contribute to more sustainable production by using traits that will increase farmer income and improve animal health for Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) dairy systems.
Acceligen received the $3.68 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to deploy a suite of traits from their discovery pipeline into commercially important dairy animals with high genetic merit for production and durability. This will be accomplished by gene editing multiple traits in a series of donor animals in the USA and Brazil. Primary traits include adaptation to tropical heat and milk yield, while traits for adaptations to local diseases and management preferences will also be added using input derived from smallholders. Complementary efforts are also in place to support regulatory review and other commercialization activities for these animals in SSA target countries.
“A critical part of this effort is to introduce multiple adaptation traits into the founder animals, so that their hybrid progeny are fully functional in tropical environments” stated Tad Sonstegard, CEO of Acceligen and project lead. Native dairy animals, although typically well adapted to local environmental conditions, have been under little or no selection for milk production. Sonstegard also stated “When we combine gene editing with top merit animals using advanced reproductive technologies from our partners Kheiron (Pilar, Argentina) and Trans Ova Genetics (Sioux Center, IA), we can make significant genetic improvement for well-adapted, high yielding dairy cows. Our goal is to get these animals into the hands of smallholder farmers.”
The current SSA dairy animals generally have a much higher ratio of greenhouse gas to animal protein output compared to breeds developed in the EU and US. “By gene editing animals to be more sustainable and enable smallholder farmers to better provide for their families, this project exemplifies what Acceligen is really about,” said Sabreena Larson, Director of Commercial Operations. “Acceligen is driven to implement the use of gene editing in livestock to increase animal welfare and sustainability, while helping to improve the globe by reducing hunger and fighting climate change.”
Founded in 2014, Acceligen is a recognized global leader in the development, deployment, and commercialization of precision animal breeding technologies. Acceligen believes in better living for all through precision animal breeding. Using gene editing tools, we accelerate genetic improvement in food animals with naturally occurring traits to address critical issues in global farming. Learn more about our company, a wholly owned subsidiary of Recombinetics Inc., at Acceligen.com
Kheiron is a leading animal biotech company founded in 2012. Initially focused on cloning of famous equine athletes, Kheiron has now evolved into a broader platform that includes advanced reproductive technologies and precision breeding through gene editing of animal cells for welfare, production, and regenerative human medicine. Learn more about our company at Kheiron-biotech.com, a wholly owned subsidiary of Proinvesa Group (proinvesa.com).
About Trans Ova Genetics
Founded in 1980, Trans Ova Genetics offers advanced reproductive technologies to help breeders multiply the success of their elite cattle. These technologies include embryo transfer, in vitro fertilization, sex-sorted semen, as well as genetic preservation, and cloning services. Trans Ova Genetics also offers several recipient options, including certified recipients, Multiplier Herd Programs and Calf Programs. Headquartered in Sioux Center, Iowa, Trans Ova Genetics has regional centers in Missouri, Maryland, Texas, Oklahoma, South Dakota, California, Washington, and Wisconsin, as well as multiple satellite stations throughout the United States.