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Young Researcher: Ben Willing

Ben Willing manipulates diet and the microbial populations that make up the gut microbiota to see how these can improve human health and animal productivity. Read more.

Conference reports: Banff Pork Seminar and PAG

The Banff Pork Seminar brings together pork industry people from North America and around the world. The top stories of the day from the 2016 edition are highlighted in a special Inside BPS. We draw your attention to a few key articles:
As well, Gentec's Tianfu Yang attended the Plant and Animal Genome Conference XXIV in San Diego. Find out what insight he came away with.

Selection for health offsets production costs in pigs

At the Banff Pork Seminar, Gentec CEO Graham Plastow warned delegates of the high cost to production of sick and dead pigs--that could be fixed by using genomics to select for health.

Listen to and/or read his subsequent interview on the subject with Farmscape.

Conference video: Feed efficiency vs. methane production in dairy cows

The Canadian dairy industry is one of the best examples of how genomics can transform animal production, health, fertility, and longevity. The impact of these is estimated to deliver an incremental $210 million/yr in benefits to industry.  
However, new challenges--such as an increasing awareness of the environmental impact of dairy production, and feed costs now accounting for more than 50% of incurred expenses in dairy operations-- continue to confront the industry.
Gentec is pleased to collaborate with the Canadian Dairy Network’s and Genome Canada project lead, Dr. Filippo Miglior on the  $10.3 million p roject aimed at “Increasing Feed Efficiency and Reducing Methane Emissions Through Genomics.” In this short segment, Miglior outlines the aim and approach of this important project as presented at Gentec’s 2015 conference. The UofA lead is Paul Stothard; and the project includes important contributions from Ellen Goddard and Zhiquan Wang and their colleagues at Gentec.

Heads up: Looking for conference speakers

Following the success of our two Cattlemen's Young Leaders speakers at our 2015 conference (find Crane's presentation on RFI here and Homerosky's on vigour in newborn calves here), we've decided to make this a standing feature for future events.

If you would like to nominate a potential speaker, contact Clint Brons for more details.

International Week

For the 32nd year, the University of Alberta hosted a week-long event focusing on global issues that define our era. Read about Gentec's contibution to this year's theme--the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Catch up on your "Gentec-associated" reading

Genetics point to "easy keepers"

Last month, we profiled Gentec partner Arno Doerksen, the Gemstone Cattle Company's focus on "practical" cattle. and its project (with the Canadian Hereford Association, University of Alberta, Livestock Gentec, Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, Cattleland Feed Yards and Olds College) to develop EPDs for RFI.
See page 36 of Grainews for the full story on that project and what it means to producers.

Is gene-editing a game-changer?

It could well be.
  • Genome Alberta picked it as one of its top three genomics stories of 2015. You'll have to listen to the podcast to find out what the others are. Gentec-associated scientists David Wishart and Ellen Goddard provide their insight.
  • It's about to "go live". See story on gene-edited pigs resistant to PRRS here; Gentec collaborator Bob Rowland at Kansas State Univ and Gentec partner Genus/PIC are involved).
  • Genome Biology has just published a special issue on the subject. Find it here.

The lighter side: Is GWAS a matter of faith?

Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) are now at the heart of a controversy, as President Obama supports those who have converted to GWAS as a faith and rips into those refuse to support the science.

Food of the future: Methane-eating bacteria

Is there a way to convert the methane that cows burp into food? We're not there yet but researchers have figured out some of the steps. Read more.
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