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New Livestock Genomics Research Funding

22 February 2011

CANADA - Genome Alberta, the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency and the University of Lethbridge are pleased to announce the first of nine projects approved for funding under Genome Alberta's 'Alberta Livestock Genomics Programme' (ALGP).

With 4.5 million dollars in funding from the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency (ALMA) Genome Alberta put out a call for proposals in 2010 and has approved nine research projects to help improve the quality, reputation, and health of Alberta Livestock.

The first project to be given the go-ahead is led by University of Lethbridge Researcher Dr Brent Selinger. The project will be co-led by Dr Tim McAllister at the Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada's Lethbridge Research Centre. Also represented in the project team are IdentiGEN Canada Ltd and University College Cork in Ireland.

The $470,000 in funding and project support from Genome Alberta and ALMA will be used by the project researchers to look at a microorganism carried in cattle which can result in human disease.

Escherichia coli O157:H7 is often found in the gut of even healthy cattle but when it reaches high enough levels for the cattle to become 'super shedders' it can spread and can become a problem for people.

The newly funded project "The use of metagenomics to develop mitigation strategies for Escherichia coli O157:H7 colonization in cattle", will use functional genomics to identify and develop new bioactive compounds for the control of the pathogen and to find new strategies to mitigate the shedding of E. Coli O157:H7.

"It is very significant to note that the funding for this research is being channelled through Genome Alberta," said Dr Dennis Fitzpatrick, the Genome Alberta Board chair and Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Lethbridge.

"The industry wants to be competitive on the world stage, and they are to be commended for moving these projects forward through research. When research goals align with research needs, everyone benefits."

Work on the project lead by the University of Lethbridge is underway and over the next several weeks funding details for eight more research projects to enhance Alberta's Livestock Sector are underway.

"These investments are major steps forward for the Alberta Livestock and Meat Strategy," says ALMA president and CEO, Gordon Cove. "ALMA's investments will help maintain Alberta's position as a leader in livestock genomics research."

Genome Alberta's President and CEO Dr David Bailey said: "In addition to the strong funding commitment from ALMA, the national and international organisations partnering in the various projects will bring the total research envelope into the eight to nine million dollar range."

Over the coming weeks Genome Alberta and its partners will be announcing details of other successful projects involving other Alberta, Canadian, and US Universities, industry, and US-based agencies.

TheCattleSite News Desk



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