Meet Ginger the Calf: How gene-editing could change the livestock industry

Scientists with the USDA Agricultural Research Service produced the first gene-edited calf with resistance to the bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV), which costs the U.S. cattle sector billions of dollars every year.


Craig Chandler|University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Scientists led by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service have produced the first gene-edited calf with resistance to the common cattle virus bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV).

The calf, Ginger, was born on July 19, 2021. Issues related to BVDV cost the U.S. cattle sector billions of dollars every year. But this could change, thanks to Ginger!

The group of scientists shared their findings in a proof-of-concept paper published on May 10. They also hope the breakthrough using CRISPR gene-editing technology will eventually lead to a reduction of antimicrobials usage in livestock.

According to the report, Ginger was observed for several months and then later challenged with the virus to determine if she could become infected. Ginger was housed for a week with a BVDV-infected dairy calf that was born shedding the virus. Ginger’s cells displayed significantly reduced susceptibility to BVDV, which resulted in no observable adverse health effects.

Over the past 20 years, the scientific community discovered the main cellular receptor and the area where the virus binds to that receptor, causing infection in cows. Scientists modified the virus-binding site in this recent study to block infection.

USDA says the study demonstrates the possibility of reducing the burden of bovine viral diarrhea virus-associated diseases in cattle by gene editing.


First gene-edited calf with reduced susceptibility to a major viral pathogen (BVDV)


RanchHer celebrated the invaluable contributions women leading the beef industry at their panel, “Your Path to Becoming a RanchHer,” Friday at NCBA CattleCon.
The department released a new forecast for grocery store prices for 2023.
The United States is taking the next step in the process by establishing a dispute settlement panel.
Agriculture Shows
From soil to harvest. Top Crop is an all-new series about four of the best farmers in the world—Dan Luepkes, of Oregan, Illinois; Cory Atley, of Cedarville, Ohio; Shelby Fite, of Jackson Center, Ohio; Russell Hedrick, of Hickory, North Carolina—reveals what it takes for them to make a profitable crop. It all starts with good soil, patience, and a strong planter setup.
Champions of Rural America is a half-hour dive into the legislative priorities for Rural America. Join us as we interview members of the Congressional Western Caucus to learn about efforts in Washington to preserve agriculture and tackles the most important topics in the ag industry on Champions of Rural America!
Farm Traveler is for people who want to connect with their food and those who grow it. Thanks to direct-to-consumer businesses, agritourism, and social media, it’s now easier than ever to learn how our food is made and support local farmers. Here on the Farm Traveler, we want to connect you with businesses offering direct-to-consumer products you can try at home, agritourism sites you can visit with your family, and exciting new technologies that are changing how your food is being grown.
Featuring members of Congress, federal and state officials, ag and food leaders, farmers, and roundtable panelists for debates and discussions.
Host Ben Bailey hops in the tractor cab, giving farmers 10 minutes to answer as many questions and grab as much cash as they can for their local FFA chapter.