April 2022

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Gentec highlights

About "The Delicious Bits"

Welcome to the “The Delicious Bits”, the modernized format in which Gentec news will reach you from now on. You may have noticed the shift to this format over the past 3-4 months. Why the new title? Hopefully, to be clear that every bit of an animal has value if you know how to use it. And we hope you will find the “cuts” relevant and insightful, and make you think if you’re using genetics and genomics enough to improve your bottom line. This points to the packer who, on hearing how genomics could help reduce variation in the products, asked us to visit the plant to help pick up the $ bills being left on the floor. It also points to every one of us who enjoys meat and probably has a favourite meaty indulgence.

This month, as well as our regular “At the Grill” contribution from William Torres (who really says it like he sees it), we begin a series of short pieces on the use of gene editing to improve animals and the issues facing this new technology. For example, what is it and how is it different from GMOs? What is CRISPR and its use in gene editing? We’ll try to answer some of these questions and more, now that gene-edited bulls will be on the market in N. America imminently. To start us off, Kajal Devani (Director of Science and Technology, Canadian Angus Association) provides a brief introduction. We hope you’ll let us know what you think about gene editing, what you want to know and join in the discussion on its use in livestock.

Gene editing. Coming to market soon!

Kajal Devani, Director of Science and Technology at the Canadian Angus Association, takes us on a quick tour of what genetic modification and gene editing are. Spoiler alert: they’re not the same.  Read more here.

At the Grill with William Torres: Cattleman or hobbyist?

This month’s At The Grill feature by William Torres (former Research Manager at Cattleland Feedyards and popular presenter at Gentec conferences) focuses on how to translate packing plant information into genetic change. Read more here.

Next-gen talk to next-gen ranchers

Two UAlberta students took on a really hard Capstone project: convincing ranchers of the benefits of genomics. But instead of talking to adults, they connected with 4Hers. Find out more about the project and what happened here.

Swine It PODCAST. Gilt development and a determining factor behind low birth weight pigs

The breeding barn is arguably the most complex stage of production in the swine industry. Lots of factors can influence the productivity of the sow, and those first few weeks of life for the piglets will impact how efficiently they grow for the rest of their lives. In this podcast, Laura Greiner and Jennifer Patterson discuss some of the key components of determining sow lifetime productivity and what recent research has shown for the interactions between sows and low birth weight pigs.

Jennifer is part of the Gentec team, and works closely with clients in the swine industry on health resiliency. Find out more about Jennifer here.

Curling champion!

John Basarab, Gentec's Director of Beef Operations, and his team won GOLD at the Alberta 55 Plus Provincial 2022 Winter Games in the 65+ Mixed category. The team now advances to the nationals to be held in August in Kamloops, BC. Way to go, John!

Left to right: Lead Gwen Farnsworth, Second John Basarab, Third Wendy Long & Skip Lyle Lorenz

Job opportunity

Master's student to study genetic parameters of female fertility traits in Canadian Angus cattle. Are you qualified and readily available to work and drive in Canada and to enroll in the UCalgary thesis-based Master’s program? Email your CV to by May 15.


May 5. Livestock Markets Association of Canada conference. Lloydminster, SK
May 10-12. 2022 Animal Nutrition Conference of Canada, Saskatoon, SK
May 11-12. Animal Nutrition Conference of Canada. Saskatoon, SK
May 12. Saskatchewan Livestock Expo. Swift Current, SK
May 14. International Grassland Congress. Selkirk, MB
May 18-19. AGRI Tech Venture Forum. Toronto, ON
May 25-27. 2nd annual BioNet Conference. Calgary, AB

June 1-4. Beef Improvement Federation Research Symposium. Lac Cruces, NM**
June 5-7. Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association Conference. Assiniboia, SK**
June 7-8. Annual Canadian Summit on Food Safety. Toronto, ON
June 8-10. World Pork Expo, Des Moines, Iowa
June 9. Canadian Angus Association conference. Moncton, NB
June 13. Canadian Meat Council conference. Ottawa, ON
June 14-15. Alberta Beef Industry Conference. Red Deer, AB**
June 15. International Conference on Livestock Genetics and Breeding. Toronto, ON
June 21-22. Advancing Women in Agriculture. Calgary, AB
June 21-23. Canada’s Farm Show. Regina, SK

**Gentec booth on site. Come visit!

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Livestock Gentec · 2-31 General Services Bldg · University of Alberta · Edmonton, AB T6G 2H1 · Canada

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