RBST Chief Executive Christopher Price said:

All breeds of livestock evolve by selective breeding over time, and so as well as traditional breeding techniques, assisted by the longstanding use of reproductive technologies such as artificial insemination and embryo transfer, the newer techniques of genomic assessment and manipulation are playing increasing roles. 

 Whilst there may be benefits for food, farming and conservation from the use of genome editing in farmed animals, we doubt that as the science develops, technological capability will be the limiting factor in its use. Rather it will be demand, public acceptability. animal health and welfare, environmental factors.

 As matters stand, we consider that there is potential for genome editing in the limited circumstances of a deleterious mutation threatening a breed’s survival, or there being an inadequate breeding population; however, there are greater risks to livestock biodiversity from the unplanned use of the technology. Accordingly, RBST will be engaging with Government to ensure any changes to the regulatory framework meet identified needs and maintain all necessary checks and balances.