The production of genetically modified (GM) animals is an emerging technique that could potentially impact the livestock and pharmaceutical industries. Currently, food products derived from GM animals have not yet entered the market whilst two pharmaceutical products have. The objective of this paper is twofold: first it aims to explore the socio-economic drivers affecting the use of GM animals and, second, to review the risks and benefits from the point of view of the life sciences. A scoping study was conducted to assess research relevant to understanding the main drivers influencing the adoption of GM applications and their potential risks and benefits. Public and producers’ acceptance, public policies, human health, animal welfare, environmental impact and sustainability are considered as the main factors affecting the application of GM animal techniques in livestock and pharmaceutical chains.