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Alison Van Eenennaam

Animal Genomics and Biotechnology Cooperative Extension Specialist, University of California, Davis

Expert Bio

Dr. Alison Van Eenennaam is an Animal Genomics and Biotechnology Cooperative Extension Specialist in the Department of Animal Science at the University of California, Davis. Her publicly-funded research and outreach program focuses on the use of animal genomics and biotechnology in livestock production systems. Her current research projects include the development of genomic approaches to select for cattle that are less susceptible to disease, and applied uses of DNA-based information on commercial beef cattle operations. She also has a keen interest in making publicly-accessible educational materials and uses a variety of media to inform general public audiences about science and technology. She has provided a credentialed voice on some controversial topics including cloning and genetically engineered animals. She earned her B.S. from the University of Melbourne in Australia, and both her M.S. and Ph.D. degrees were earned from the University of California, Davis, in animal science and genetics, respectively.

Studies, Articles and Answers

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Q: If livestock eat genetically modified grain, will there be GMOs in my meat? -- Submitted as part of GMO Answers' Top Consumer Questions Survey --

Answered By Alison Van Eenennaam - May 27, 2014

A: Genetically engineered crops are digested by animals in the same way as conventional crops. Numerous scientific studies have examined the digestive fate of genetically engineered DNA and protein introduced intro genetically engineered feed (see the Federation of Animal Science Societies Communications website for a comprehensive listing.) Genetically engineered DNA, or the novel proteins encoded therein, have never been detected in the milk, meat or eggs derived from animals fed genetically engineered feedstuffs. Nutrients in meat, milk and eggs from livestock fed genetically engine [...]

How GMOs Are Made


Q: Genetic Engineering and Animal Feed

By Alison Van Eenennaam - May 28, 2014

A: From University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources Publication 8183, Genetic Engineering Fact Sheet 6. In the United States, livestock have been fed genetically engineered crops since these crops were first introduced in 1996. In 2005, 87 percent of the U.S. soybean crop and 52 percent of the U.S. corn crop were grown from genetically engineered seed (see the USDA ERS Briefing Room website). Because the majority of corn (72 percent) and soybeans (60 percent) are used for livestock feed, it is clear that the livestock industry is a major user of genetically [...]

Animals Animal feed


Q: how much would it cost to label GMOs?

Answered By Alison Van Eenennaam - Jun 12, 2014

A: “The potential economic impact of state and other initiatives that would mandate labeling for the presence of GE ingredients in foods has also been of much interest. Opponents of mandatory GE labeling schemes have argued that they would be paid by all consumers, including those who do not wish to avoid GE. Proponents have argued that the implied costs would be minimal. Indeed, a handful of studies has sketched out the potential costs of the mandatory labeling initiatives in California and Washington. The results have varied from more than $1 billion per year to a few thousands of dollars (Als [...]

GMOs Globally Modern Agriculture Crop protectants


Q: I have heard that the Seralini study was the first animal feeding study on GMO foods that was done over the full lifetime of the animals and looked at a broad range of health effects, and ended up published in a peer reviewed journal. I know the study ha

Answered By Alison Van Eenennaam - Jan 14, 2015

A: A number of long-term (of more than 90 d and up to 2 years in duration) feeding trials and multigenerational studies conducted by public research laboratories using various animal models including pigs, cows, quail, and fish have also been reviewed (Ricroch, 2013; Ricroch et al., 2013; Snell et al., 2012). Significant among these studies are two thorough multigenerational studies that examined the long-term effects of feeding a genetically engineered (GE) corn variety (MON810, expressing the insecticidal Cry1Ab protein from Bacillus thuringiensis [Bt], one of the few GE corn varieties approve [...]

Health & Safety How GMOs Are Made