A New Frontier of Genetic Discovery

Gene Editing

Could the Twin Cities be the new frontier of genetic discovery?

That's the vision of researchers at one St. Paul-based company, who believe all the pieces are in place to do things like increase the world's food supply, and cure diseases like Alzheimer's and cancer.

Another breakthrough this company is working on could give people who need transplants their own personal pig to grow an organ.

Our morning news anchor Chris Egert was given access to several facilities that few have ever seen, and started our search for answers in San Francisco, California.

Gene Editing and Gene Modification are Different

Gene editing enables precise breeding within a species.

Gene editing selects and uses only genes that are already present and native to the species.
Genetic modification (GMO) enables breeding across species.

GMO selects genes from one species for use in a different species where that genetic material is not normally present and not native to the species.

Minnesota: Poised for World-Class Research Collaborations

"In gene editing, we have the ability to go to the right volume, of that encyclopedia of life, the right page, the right paragraph, the right sentence, to change exactly the letter we want to change."
- Recombinetics Chief Scientific Officer and Executive Chair Scott Fahrenkrug

Recombinentics researchers state that gene-editing technologies help select elite and desirable animal traits for animal welfare, disease resilience and human health.

Gene-edited food animals could help improve three large industries: animal agriculture, medical research and regenerative medicine.

Those with Recombinetics say Minnesota is perfectly located to facilitate research collaborations within those industries. They cite the University of Minnesota's Center for Genome Engineering, the state's leading medical research facilities and the location of prominent global food companies as benefits.

Gene edited animals provide researchers with the chance to develop drugs and medical devices to treat chronic diseases, because the animal models, particularly pigs, can help replicate human diseases.

"Knowing these animals can serve as surrogates, actually help therapeutics and eventually cures for these diseases, this is amazing."
- Recombinetics researcher Adrienne Watson

Watch one of the gene edited cattle at the farm take a liking to one of our photographers:

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