Genome Alberta

Livestock News & Views

November 16, 2014 4:02 PM

Taking the Mystery out of Genomics

I gave my mom a hand feeding the cows yesterday and as we waited for the stragglers to arrive before rolling out grain, we started talking about genetics, and the pros and cons of bringing in another breed to the operation. The whole ordeal got me thinking, do most cow/calf producers know about the possibilities of genomics? Or understand the various ways to demonstrate genetic potential?

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November 16, 2014 4:02 PM
Taking the Mystery out of Genomics

I gave my mom a hand feeding the cows yesterday and as we waited for the stragglers to arrive before rolling out grain, we started talking about genetics, and the pros and cons of bringing in another breed to the operation. The whole ordeal got me thinking, do most cow/calf producers know about the possibilities of genomics? Or understand the various ways to demonstrate genetic potential?

November 8, 2014 9:51 AM
Time to Rotate: Increasing the Sustainability of Biotech Traits
Filed Under: Debra Murphy | 0 Comments

It’s a hard word to grasp, though its definition is relatively straightforward. Sustainability refers to a system that maintains, if not increases, its viability for the future, utilizing techniques that allow for re-use. It’s a buzzword in agriculture circles right now, fuelled by the public’s ever-increasing interest animal welfare, the environment and corporate ownership.

October 31, 2014 5:48 PM
Circle of Life: Livestock virus necessary for human Ebola vaccine might infect livestock with the virus
Filed Under: Pam Baker | 0 Comments
Ebola, Ebola vaccination, VSV, VS, genetic modification

The Ebola epidemic is scary and every effort is being made to squelch its spread. Among those efforts is the search for a human vaccine. One of the most promising vaccines under development requires the use of a livestock virus, specifically a weakened vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV). While the vaccine could save millions of human lives it could also increase infections in livestock through exposure to vaccinated people.

VSV affects horses, cows, swine, sheep, goats, llamas, and alpacas. Essentially it resembles foot and mouth disease (FMD) as it causes painful blisters in the mouth and on the foot, although it is less severe than FMD. In some animals the blisters will also appear on the sheath or udders. There is no treatment other than soft foods and pain control for the duration but infected animals generally recover within two weeks.

Compared to human recovery rates from Ebola, just about everyone considers the potential increase in livestock infections an acceptable trade-off especially since infected animals rarely die from VSV. Still the issue isn’t being taken lightly. The vaccine makers are weighing the potential impact and looking for ways to potentially curtail it.

When asked about the possibility of vaccinated humans spreading the disease to livestock, Charles Link Jr., CEO of NewLink, the makers of the vaccine, said in an interview with Science magazine: “It's a legitimate concern and we're looking at ways to evaluate that.”

October 25, 2014 12:11 PM
Pigging Out: New Research Could Increase Efficiency in Pork Industry
Recently announced funding from the federal government could support the development and commercialization of enzymes to improve feed efficiency in the pork sector.

Canada’s hog industry brings in $9.8 billion annually, according to the Canadian Pork Council. Stats Canada numbers recorded 2011 exports at more than one million tonnes of pork, to more than 80 countries, ranking this country as fifth among world exporters.
October 14, 2014 8:00 AM
Milking it: Genomics is Taking the Guesswork out of Dairy Production
Filed Under: News Research Cow | 0 Comments
Media Release, October 9, 2014. A new research program, funded in part by Genome British Columbia, aims to help BC’s dairy farmers by taking the guesswork out of determining which young heifers will develop to be the best milk producers. Through a simple hair sample, a genomic-based test will demonstrate the genetic markers of desirable traits like volume, fat content and protein. This data will allow farmers to make informed breeding and selection management decisions that will result in a more productive herd and improved dairy profitability.