GMO or Not?

By Dave Young (Flickr: 34 - dehorned dairy cow) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
By Dave Young (Flickr: 34 – the dairy cow) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
There are a wide variety of methods used to encourage the traits that we want in our food, whether from plants of animals. Some of these methods involve inserting DNA from one species into another (transgenic). However, others involve simply selective breeding (this has been done for centuries). It’s the reason that we don’t eat tiny apples, for instance (they’ve been bred to be large and juicy). In the case of cows, one undesirable trait for both livestock and dairy cows is the presence of horns, which can be dangerous for both the farmer and the animals themselves. The present procedure for removing the horns is painful and controversial. For livestock the trait of hornlessness has been selectively bred into the animals. However, it was not practical to breed milk cows with the beef-producing animals since it caused other undesirable changes in milk production. Therefore, scientists have managed to edit the genome of the dairy animals without introducing foreign DNA. Read the complete article by Michael White.
So, the question remains: Are these animals GMOs, since the net result was to encourage a trait that was already present in the genome?

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