Scientists turn to Nobel Prize-winning gene editing tool to reduce dairy methane emissions
Read the transcript for this report below.
ALEX BURKE, HOST: Scientists at the University of California are introducing a new tool in the fight for cleaner cow burps – which produce the greenhouse gas known as methane. KVPR’s Kerry Klein reports.
KERRY KLEIN: The tool is CRISPR, The Nobel Prize-winning technology that can alter an organism’s DNA. The DNA it’s targeting isn’t in the cow, but in the micro-organisms in its gut. According to Matthias Hess, an animal scientist at UC Davis, these microbes help produce the milk and meat we love, but also the methane.
MATTHIAS HESS: So we want to change microbes in a way that we increase maybe the productivity of the animal and the health, but at the same time reduce the emission of methane.
KLEIN: Hess and colleagues at UC Davis, Berkeley and San Francisco were just awarded $70 million for the initiative from the Audacious Project, an offshoot of the company that created TED Talks. It’s actually the company’s largest grant to date. Hess says their methane reductions goals are audacious.
HESS: The target is, we want to go down or to reduce it by 70%, that’s the goal.
KLEIN: So, how to tweak those microbes? The plan, says Hess, is to create a pill, supplement or even a virus that cattle can eat. For KVPR News, I'm Kerry Klein.