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CBBC and Gentec win $1 million federal investment for genotyping

This new project will match dollar for dollar every $1 producers spend on genotyping in an effort to encourage adoption of this technology by reducing the cost of using it. Read more here, and check out the podcast with Gentec/CBBC's John Crowley.

Gentec conference video: Andrew Powell

Innovation implies change. In change, many people see a far greater degree of risk than of opportunity. This perception is important because it tells us that, when assessing risk, emotion is far more powerful than “truth.” We only need look at topics as varied as GMOs and vaccines to see the consequences of risk for emerging technologies. In his presentation, Andrew shows how being aware of decision-making patterns and using effective communication practices can build trust to reduce the public’s level of risk perception and corporate exposure in bringing new technologies to market.

Gene Editing: A glimpse into the future of agriculture

The Roslin Institute's Bruce Whitelaw talks about what gene editing means for agriculture, health, consumers and producers. Read the article here.

"This technology is all the rage with researchers and innovators around the world. Our challenge is to ensure its benefits can be harnessed to help meet the Grand Challenge of delivering food security in the coming decades," says Graham Plastow, Gentec CEO. "Things have certainly moved a long way since the first years of this century when Bruce first suggested we look at the warthog gene."

Events roundup

The inaugural Canadian Beef Industry Conference--a joint collaboration by the Beef Cattle Research Council, Canada Beef, the Canadian Beef Breeds Council and the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association--will take place on August 9-11, 2016 at the Grey Eagle Resort and Casino in Calgary. The program will include keynote speakers on connectivity, productivity, beef demand and competitiveness. There will be educational presentations for producers and interactive workshops on applicable production innovations, plenty of networking with stakeholders in all stages of the beef supply chain and a unique lineup of events to draw industry stakeholders from across the country. For more information and registration, click here.

The 2nd Annual Gentec Field Day will be held on July 20, 2015 at the Roy Berg Kinsella Research Ranch. Watch for more details.

April 6-7 Canadian Dairy Expo Stratford, ON
April 9-10 Saskatchewan Beef Expo Saskatoon, SK
April 18-25 World Hereford Conference Montevideo, Uruguay
April 20-21 Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue Workshop Grand Prairie, AB
April 20-23 National Holstein Convention Banff, AB

Videos: PigGen speakers at Banff Pork Seminar

If you couldn't attend on-site, that's okay. Catch up with the PigGen Canada's speakers' presentations at the BSP here.

Congrats to UMissouri !

Former "Mizzou" students Barry and Marge Slayton made a US$2.65 million donation to their alma mater to support increasingly important research in beef genomics and, in the process, help ensure that future generations of beef producers enjoy the same prosperity they did.

UMissouri partnered with Gentec in a collaboration that led to the 50k SNP panel that set everyone running on genomics 2.0 (or genomic selection 1.0). View the manuscript here.

Choosing the right gene for your animals

Gene editing uses a species' own genes to create physical improvements. This may avoid the controversy and regulations to which genetically modified organisms are subject. Greater caution may be required to ensure its use. Gene editing made MIT's 2016 list of top 10 breakthrough technologies of 2016 in terms of its application to the crop/vegetable sector. The CRISPR technology is also helping to breed disease-resistant pigs (read more here), and is a technology the already tech-savvy dairy sector is keeping its eye on (read more here).

Israel reaches out to Delta Genomics and others

Israeli ambassador Rafael Barak visited TEC Edmonton as part of a tour of Alberta to build on synergies with the country's own world-class high-tech sector. Israel has huge experience in developing university-based research and creating a successful entrepreneur class. Read more here.

Antimicrobial resistance: Anything but straightforward

Cargill announced this month that it will cut its use of shared-class antibiotics (given to people and animals) by 20%. This in response to consumer interest and a desire to preserve the effectiveness of antibiotics for human health.

However, a study out of Colorado State University suggests a much more complex path to antimicrobial resistance, involving a back-and-forth between humans and animals, possibly through water and air. Read this article about the study.

Death by phage

Phages are common viruses in our environment that attack specific bacteria, reproduce inside them and kill them in the process. Because the action is physical not chemical, phages are a hot item in the war against anti-microbial resistance. EpiBiome is looking at how to harness phages in agriculture; for example to help with mastitis in dairy cows, diarrhea in piglets and respiratory diseases in calves. Read more here.

Building a "beef Cadillac"

If you want consumers to keep paying premium prices to eat beef as a luxury protein, it's important to understand the numbers behind the value associated with it. It's also important to build the value of the animal throughout its lifespan through good husbandry and practices--starting with genomics. Read part 1 of the article here, and part 2 here.

Understanding the carnivore consumer

The 2016 Food Price Report includes a study on the impact of beef prices on consumption (see page 14+). For those who had reduced their beef intake in the past 12 months, price was a significant factor, followed by health and food safety reasons. In today's world of personalized everything, understanding who is eating beef and why/why not may lead to more targeted and successful marketing campaigns.

Playing devil's advocate

A new study shows that, to make up for lost yield, 102,000 hectares of US forest and pasture would have to be converted to cropland if American farmers stopped using GMO seeds/plants.

However... in our August 2015 newsletter, we quoted an article stating that Canadian farmers throw away 10 percent of food before it even reaches distribution. Another 47 percent is tossed out at home. And plenty is lost in storage/distribution around the world (shocking example here).

Assuming similar numbers for waste in the US, the thorny question then becomes: should we not increase available food by preventing waste before clear cutting forests? What do you think...?
Gentec's Graham Plastow and Paul Stothard attended Pampa Brazilian Steakhouse's 5th birthday bash in February. It was not fancy dress: they didn't come as Men In Black--and the beards are real!
Pampa is a fave with Gentec's conference delegates.
Copyright © 2016 Livestock Gentec, All rights reserved.

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