Gene-Editing Leader Recognized for Achievement in Agriculture Technology with Polled Cattle

Recombinetics joins Minnesota’s top technology companies as a finalist for this year’s Tekne Awards. The Minnesota High Tech Association-sponsored awards feature innovative leadership and technology in Minnesota.

Recombinetics is one of three finalists in the Agriculture Technology and Food Safety category, which honors technological advances in agricultural operations that enhance productivity and efficiency, improve environmental sustainability or contribute to food safety.

Ian Friendly, Chief Executive Officer of Recombinetics, said “We are honored to be recognized among Minnesota’s most innovative technology leaders for our success in precision gene-editing. Through our advancements in biotechnology, we can now create healthier animals, while offering producers more humane, cost-effective ways to meet a growing demand for their products.”

Recombinetics is being recognized for its groundbreaking animal welfare work to successfully produce polled (hornless) Holstein dairy cattle through precision gene-editing, with no off-target effects. A gene from the naturally-polled Celtic breed is added to the Holstein breed to produce the hornless sows. The gene-edited polled animals carry the same DNA sequence that is found in Celtic polled breeds, which have been safely and routinely consumed by humans for more than 1,000 years. These cows are not transgenic. The gene-edited sequence is identical to that which could be achieved by natural breeding, but on an accelerated basis. Traits that occur through natural breeding and selection should be considered outside the GMO regulatory framework and Generally Regarded As Safe (GRAS).

In addition to being safe for our food supply, cattle that are born polled, or without horns, save farm workers the emotional anguish and expense of removing horns by other means. As importantly, it saves animals from enduring painful and unpleasant procedures.

Tom Erdmann, General Manager of Acceligen, the animal agriculture division at Recombinetics, added, “We have a moral imperative to alleviate animal suffering and produce food animals that are born and raised in the most humane way possible.  Each year, an estimated 15 million cows are polled in the U.S. alone, at a cost of $5-20 per animal. Through our breakthrough gene-editing techniques we can save animals pain and distress while providing and economic benefit to producers as well. This is a win for the animals, win for producers and win for consumers who are concerned about the ethical treatment of their food supply.”

The Tekne Awards ceremony takes place on November 16, 2016 at the Minneapolis Convention Center. The gala affair draws attendees from across the state and from across technology sectors; advanced manufacturing and information technology to healthcare and agricultural technology. For additional information, visit