• Developing Genome Editing Solutions for BTB

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Developing Genome Editing Solutions for BTB

Oct 25 2018

A collaborative research project with the University College Dublin in the Republic of Ireland and Queen’s University Belfast in Northern Ireland to combat Mycobacterium bovis (M. bovis) infection, the pathogen that causes bovine tuberculosis (BTB), has been launched by US bio-engineering company Recombinetics.

A global threat to animal and human health and a major challenge to sustainable beef and dairy farming, M.bovis annually creates an estimated $3 billion in global losses to agriculture. The primary financial burden of BTB in developed countries is the control of infection, which is still detected sporadically despite disease eradication programs.

The project goals are to offer precision breeding solutions to improve existing BTB controls without the need for additional antibiotics or ineffective vaccines.

The team includes Drs. Tad S. Sonstegard and Daniel F. Carlson from Recombinetics in the US, who will lead the design and implementation of the genome editing protocol; Professors David E. MacHugh and Stephen V. Gordon from the College of Health and Agricultural Sciences at University College Dublin will lead the systematic identification and analysis of candidate target genes via in vitro challenge experiments in gene edited cells; and Drs. David A. Simpson and Andriana Margariti at the Centre for Experimental Medicine, Queen’s University Belfast, will lead the stem cell production effort.

The project is funded by the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food Agriculture, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine in the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland’s Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs. It is part of the United States‒Ireland Research and Development Partnership Program that solicited collaborative research applications in the Animal Health and Disease programme area.