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Using the complicated past of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and the rich history of agricultural innovation as examples, animal geneticist Alison Van Eenennaam, pictured at left with CAES Dean Nick Place, made a compelling case for the increased use of thoughtful, direct science communication at the 2022 D.W. Brooks Lecture and Awards.

Genetic improvement, particularly improvements related to animal production, has been one of the most transformational agricultural advancements in our history.

The breeding of healthier, more productive livestock has been achieved through genetic selection over the course of time, both through natural genetic selection and through increased use of artificial insemination, particularly in poultry and cattle production. These advancements have increased production levels dramatically — for example, there were approximately 26 million dairy cattle producing milk in the U.S. in 1950, but through genetic selection, this number dropped to approximately 9 million dairy cattle in 2010, all while milk production increased and production costs decreased.

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