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July 2016

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Scientist profile: Nick Serao

Nick Serao, now Assistant Professor at North Carolina State University, believes he would never have got this far without one particular key mentor. Read the story here.

Kudos

Awards
Gentec partners Filippo Miglior and Michael Steele were among the group of 2016 Cdn Society of Animal Science award-winning scientists. See photo here.

Everestus Akanno won a competitive travel award to attend the ISAG conference based on his abstract submission titled "Accuracy of genome-wide predictions of heterosis in beef cattle using 50K genotypes."

Funding
MITACS, ALMA and Topigs Norsvin (one of the world’s largest pig breeding companies) are funding a project led by Gentec CEO Graham Plastow to help determine which genetic traits influence negative behaviour in pigs. The results could have major implications on selecting for "well-behaved" pigs and on pig welfare in commercial conditions. Read more here.

Catch up on your reading

Serão, N.V.L., Kemp, R.A., Mote, B.E., Harding, J.C.S., Willson, P., Bishop, S.C. Plastow, G.S., Dekkers, J.C.M. (2016) Genetic and Genomic basis of antibody response to porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) in gilts and sows. Genetics Selection Evolution, 48:51.

In this report, the authors describe the major activities and outcomes of the GO-FAANG Workshop in Washington, DC on October 7–8, 2015. They also provide updates on efforts to implement discussions and decisions taken at GO-FAANG to guide future FAANG activities.

An article from Farm Credit Canada highlighting feed efficiency, Gentec researcher John Basarab and Gentec partner GrowSafe.

An article in Milk Producer about hoof health talks about the possibility of selecting for cows with better feet and a project led by Gentec partners Filippo Miglior and Herman Barkema. (Click on the article to see the full double-page spread.)

Save the Date: Gentec conference goes beef AND dairy

With Gentec's Field Day at the Roy Berg Kinsella Research Station now past, we turn our attention to the October conference in Edmonton: “Livestock Production: Managing in a Time of Unprecedented Change.”
 
This year’s event continues to focus on the successful study/application of genomics and other technologies in the livestock sector, and returns to Pampa Brazilian Steakhouse for its always-anticipated banquet.  An added feature presents an increased focus on dairy production and on what knowledge dairy/beef may be able to share.
 
Filippo Miglior of the Canadian Dairy Network and Livestock Gentec’s own Paul Stothard recently won a $10 million contract from Genome Canada to investigate feed efficiency in the dairy herd.  Members of the advisory and investigative teams from around the world will be meeting in Edmonton, and a number will speak as part of combined and concurrent sessions on beef/dairy production, productivity, sustainability, and health.
 
More information will be announced over the coming weeks. In the meantime, please save the date: Edmonton, October 18-19. We hope you will join us. This event will not disappoint!

Conference Roundup: JAM, ISAG, ICABR

Early summer is conference season, when Gentec scientists spread across the globe to learn and share. Read here some summaries and take-away messages from those events.

New study of antibiotic resistance in cattle recommends different research and policy focus

In a study from Colorado State University, genes resistant to a powerful “last resort” class of antibiotics called carpabemens that aren’t used in livestock have turned up in soil and feces samples taken from cattle pens. These genes may have jumped from humans or companion animals to livestock or could even be present at low levels in the wider environment. Read here what the implications are for future policy and research directions.

Events calendar

August 4 Saskatchewan Pasture Tour. Harris, SK
August 9-11 Canadian Beef Industry Conference. Calgary, AB
August 20-28 International Limousin Congress, Ireland
September 6 Red Angus Association of America National Convention. Oklahoma City, OK
September 21-22. 2016 Dairy Cattle Improvement Industry Forum, Ottawa, ON

List of ag programs in Canada

FarmOn.com has created a terrific resource page to help young producers and scientists find the right Canadian ag program, and start their journey into agriculture.

"It's a tremendous list that highlights agriculture as a thriving sector for the future," says Gentec CEO Graham Plastow.

Have your say: global survey on precision agriculture

Please take a few minutes to complete this online global survey to contribute your vision of where precision agriculture technology is now and where it is going.

The lighter side

Check this out if you're thinking about engaging a genetic testing company such as 23andme!

On the other hand, 23andme announced success in depression loci with a new GWAS study and data from lots of participants (exactly the message we've been promoting for the livestock sector--see conference reports above). MyHerdandMe, anybody??

Genetically-modified athletes in Rio...???

What does it take to identify a gene-doped athlete? Find out here.

Share your passion with high-school students

Interested in sharing your passion for livestock genomics and genetics research? Discovery Days in Health Sciences, hosted by the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame is a pan-Canadian event that brings top high-school students into Canadian universities to interact with researchers in the medical fields. For the past two years, Gentec has demonstrated to students how healthy animals are needed for healthy people and a food-secure tomorrow. The next event will be in October 2016.

If you have a great idea of how to engage the next generation of scientists and researchers or would like to contribute to this event, please let Dawn (det@ualberta.ca) know by August 20.
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