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Red Angus Association Approves Gene-Edited Traits for Registration
USAgNet - 09/16/2021

The Red Angus Association of America, a leading progressive breed organization for seedstock beef cattle in the United States, announced today they will provide herdbook registry of Red Angus animals carrying gene-edited traits for heat tolerance and coat color. Both trait approvals by RAAA emanate from specific genetic alterations designed and submitted by Acceligen, a technology company pioneering commercialization of gene-edited food animals.

Acceligen has already bred and registered animals that express a trait known for better tolerance to tropical and sub-tropical heat. Black-to-red gene edits have also been made on multiple calves that will be born soon. These traits are a part of Acceligen's business portfolio that focuses on providing opportunities to the global cattle industry for better genetic management of animal well-being and health.

RAAA recognizes the efficacy of this advanced technology to provide its breeders with new opportunities along with an enhanced and expanded gene pool. Red Angus is the first beef breed organization to accept gene-edited animals into their registry, recognizing the potential benefits they can bring to the breed.

Tom Brink, CEO of RAAA, explained, "In considering the future, we see an opportunity to accelerate the Red Angus breed's genetic progress by selectively allowing gene-edited animals into our population. The technology has been proven to be both safe and effective, and for traits such as the slick hair coat and black to red, there is a chance to speed up the introduction of useful, naturally-occurring genes and genetic combinations that would take many generations to accomplish through traditional breeding efforts."

According to Acceligen CEO, Dr. Tad Sonstegard, "Working with the Red Angus Association provides a prime opportunity to boost purebred breeding programs via desirable traits and overall breed improvement outcomes that could take decades through classical breeding methods. These traits also demonstrate how genetics can solve problems ranging from carbon footprint to biodiversity, which are topics we are all concerned about relative to the beef production value chain."

During the breeding process, Acceligen makes changes to the candidate animal's genome that are identical to those that occur naturally in other cattle breeds. Accessing Acceligen's breeding platform allows producers to introduce important traits in a single generation to rapidly achieve the same historically safe and effective outcomes of any conventional breeding program.

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