On July 14, 2018 Genzelle, an Angus calf genetically engineered to withstand Brazil’s high summer temperatures, was born. Cows like Genzelle are cold-weather animals, typically raised in North America because the continent’s less intense climate is more suitable for Angus cattle. When temperatures get too hot, the cows won’t eat and don’t get fat, which creates the “beefy” quality consumers find desirable in steak.
As a result, Brazilian ranchers raise Zebu cattle, which are more suited to the country’s tropical climate. However, the meat they produce is leaner—and tougher to chew. Consumers in Brazil, therefore, pay a premium for Angus beef produced in the US. But thanks to the biotech company Recombinetics, meat eaters in Brazil and elsewhere may soon have access to affordable Angus beef produced from gene-edited cows, bred to tolerate higher summer temperatures.
In this video, Wall Street Journal reporter Jason Bellini speaks with Recombinetics Chief Science Officer Tad Sonstegard about the prospect of gene-edited cows coming to our dinner tables in the near future.
Original video: This Gene-Edited Calf Could Transform Brazil’s Beef Industry