The genomic era not only has revealed a great deal about an animal’s genetic makeup from a DNA sample at birth, this in-depth study of the genome has allowed us to accelerate genetic progress. Aside from conventional genomic analysis, scientists now have the ability to identify and recombine DNA within a cattle population.

That sparked one company to create polled dairy cattle at a much faster pace in the laboratory than through traditional breeding methods. While we can create these bovines, and could in theory eliminate the need to dehorn every dairy animal, the ultimate question remains — How will consumers embrace these gene-edited animals?

If the 20-year case study for bovine somatotropin or rBST is any indication, these animals created via DNA-insertion and the CRISPR technology may not be fan favorites among consumers. That could be putting it mildly.

At the moment, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is developing more complex labeling requirements for the fast-growing AquaBounty salmon. That new demand came from Congress after FDA previously approved the first genetically modified animal for human consumption two years ago.

As those in dairy circles know, hornless animals already occur in the dairy cattle population. However, a company called Recombinetics wants to speed up Mother Nature by taking DNA from hornless cattle and inserting that genetic code into a wider population base. Late last year, the Minneapolis-based company applied for FDA clearance to sell its animals to dairy farmers. The outgoing Obama administration responded with a regulation that placed all DNA-altered animals into a category classified “new animal drug” rather than “a breeding process.” That brought the approval mechanism to a mere snail’s pace.

How the U.S., Canada, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand view these animals will be one matter. Meanwhile, countries such as Brazil and China may have another viewpoint even if long-established economies continue to hold up the approval process. To be sure, the pipeline of animals such as heat-resistant cattle, male pigs that do not go through puberty thus eliminating castration, and flu-resistant poultry are just the beginning of what science could rapidly change in the lab versus traditional animal breeding methods. But will consumers eat the resulting product? That’s the most important question.