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Genomics And Future Food Production

18 March 2011

AUSTRALIA - An international conference looking at the major impacts of genomics for livestock industries will be held in Melbourne, Australia, on 2-5 May 2011.

Genomics has a key role to play to improve productivity, food security and animal welfare outcomes across livestock industries, including dairy, beef, sheep, poultry and pigs.

Hosted by Cooperative Research Centres for Beef Genetic Technologies, Sheep Industry Innovation and Dairy Futures as part of the Sir Mark Oliphant Conference Series, the Applied Genomics for Sustainable Livestock Breeding conference is a one-off event featuring leading Australian and international scientists and industry practitioners.

The conference will investigate the latest genomic tools to sustainably breed livestock to meet current and future global consumer demand for dairy and livestock products. A dedicated Industry Day for leading producers, supported by Meat & Livestock Australia and Dairy Australia, will focus on the use of genomic testing and selection in today’s livestock industries.

Chair of the Conference Program Committee, Professor Mike Goddard, from the University of Melbourne and Victorian Department of Primary Industries and a scientist in both the Beef and Dairy CRCs, said that since the bovine genome was first mapped in 2006, the genomes of other livestock commonly used in food production have also been mapped.

“There is a lot of work going on in different countries right now to identify genes that impact on desired traits,” Professor Goddard said.

“Genomics provides a window ‘inside’ the animal’s makeup,” Professor Goddard said.

“It analyses the minute genetic differences between animals which may point to genes that impact on a desired trait.”

He said genomics should be used with traditional genetic improvement techniques to make breeding predictions more accurate.

“The science is rapidly maturing,” Professor Goddard said. “Genomic selection has been implemented already in dairy industries around the world and other livestock industries are following dairy’s lead.”

The conference aims to develop international research and industry partnerships to best implement genomic technologies.

Conference Website:www.smogenomics.org

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