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New tools equal new opportunities for the swine industry

New genomic tools, including a draft sequence of the pig genome and high density SNP chips, allow swine researchers opportunities to better understand the biology of the pig and limiting production traits.

Dr. Max Rothschild of Iowa State University explored applications of SNP technologies during a presentation at the 10th World Congress of Genetics Applied to Livestock Production.

Potential applications of the new technology include: Read more


On the road to recovery

The decrease in dairy cow fertility which began in the 1980s now appears to be on the mend.

In a presentation given during the 10th World Congress of Genetics Applied to Livestock Production, Dr. Jennie Pryce of La Trobe University spoke about the latest phenotypic and genetic trends related to female fertility in international Holstein populations. 

The improvements are slight, with some fertility characteristics (such as calving interval) merely plateauing instead of improving. Read about the latest fertility trends in the proceedings paper titled “World Trends in Dairy Cow Fertility.”


Genomics gets fishy

Breakthroughs in the Atlantic salmon genome project, initiated in 2010, now allows Atlantic salmon researchers access to technology comparable to the technological advancements of the major livestock species.

During the 10th World Congress of Genetics Applied to Livestock Production, Dr. Thomas Moen of AquaGen gave a presentation on Tuesday describing the new technologies available, including:

  • a high-quality genome reference
  • a SNP-chip containing more than 657k polymorphic SNPs
  • A SNP-chip containing 132k polymorphic SNP and a linkage map

Details about the new genomic technology emerging from the Atlantic salmon genome project and related studies can be found in the proceeding paper titled “Genomics in Selective Breeding of Atlantic Salmon.”


The big questions: Possible limitations of genomic information

During the 10th World Congress of Genetics Applied to Livestock Production, Dr. Brian Kinghorn of  the University of New England gave a presentation on Monday about the potential impact genomic information could have on genetic change.

The presentation addressed 4 major questions about what genomic information can reveal. Read more

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Integrating genomic technologies through education

WCGALP_iconAs genomic technology advances, the opportunities to address global food security and health increase. But these opportunities could be missed if steps are not taken to increase future research and extension efforts. Shrinking faculty numbers not only limit the amount of potential research, but also limit the capacity to train industry professionals about emerging genomic tools.

Concerns about a shortage of future animal geneticists were addressed during the 10th World Congress of Genetics Applied to Livestock Production by Dr. Ron Lewis during his presentation on Wednesday.

Details about proposed solutions to this shortage can be found in the related proceedings paper titled “Filling the Knowledge Gap: Integrating Quantitative Genetics and Genomics in Graduate Education and Outreach.”



More to low fertility than a negative energy balance

As selective breeding makes cattle more productive, producers (especially dairy producers) experience a decrease in fertility. The interval between calving and first estrus is longer, conception rates from 1st insemination are lower, and the number of insemination attempts before cows are impregnated is greater. Generally, this decreased fertility is blamed on a negative energy balance, but geneticists say there may be more to the story.

During the 10th World Congress of Genetics Applied to Livestock Production, Dr. Michel Georges of University of Liege gave a presentation on Tuesday exploring an alternative/complementary hypothesis attributing the decrease in fertility to an increase in homozgosity for embryonic lethal alleles.

Read the related proceedings paper titled “NGS-based Reverse Genetic Screen Reveals Loss-of-Function Variants Compromising Fertility in Cattle.”


Jewell receives Corbin Companion Animal Biology Award

Written by: Laci Jones

jewell_photoDr. Dennis Jewell’s passion for companion animal health and well-being has earned him the 2014 Corbin Companion Animal Biology Award. The Senior Nutritionist from Hill’s Pet Nutrition received the honor at the 2014 American Society of Animal Science Joint Annual Meeting in Kansas City.

Jewell has over 20 years of research experience in monogastric nutrition. Read more »


Department head recognized for administration efforts

Written by: Laci Jonesodde_photo

As head of the Department of Animal Sciences and Industry at Kansas State University, Dr. Ken Odde has made advancements in administration through growth in student and faculty numbers, research productivity and facility improvements.

In honor of his administration efforts, Odde received the Fellow Award in the Teaching category at the American Society of Animal Science Joint Annual Meeting.

Odde is a founding member of the National Association for the Advancement of Animal Science. He is actively involved in ASAS through serving as a Trustee for the ASAS Foundation, president of the Western Section and served on several association committees. Read more »


Using a hybrid model to improve genomic prediction

During the 10th World Congress of Genetics Applied to Livestock Production, Dr. Dorian Garrik of Iowa State University gave a presentation on Monday outlining a Bayesian approach combining multiple methods into a single step method.

The outlined method uses observations from both genotyped and non-genotyped animals. It does not require direct inversion of matrices and is well suited to parallel computing approaches.

More information related to this topic can be found in the proceeding titled “Bayesian Prediction Combining Genotyped and Non-Genotyped Individuals.”