Bloomberg Businessweek

Don’t Want the Horns? Edit Them Out

Recombinetics is using DNA insertion to fast-forward through generations of livestock breeding
Fahrenkrug’s team is making livestock healthier, fleshier, and, yes, less pointy

Geneticist Scott Fahrenkrug knows a callipyge when he sees one. The term, which means “beautiful buttocks” in Greek, is often used by livestock breeders to describe a mutation that causes an animal’s posterior to grow to twice the average size for its species, meaning more juicy, flavorful meat.

Fahrenkrug saw his first callipyge in the 1990s, when he was working at an obscure U.S. Department of Agriculture facility charged with finding ways to predict which individual animals could be bred to produce the meatiest offspring. “Genetic improvement faster—that really was always the objective,” he recalls. Seeing the USDA’s back-heavy sheep, and some unusually well-muscled bulls, led him to start thinking about shortcuts, like

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