Genomic Advances Increase Usefulness and Reduce Costs

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Farmscape for February 6, 2019

Full Interview 12:51 Listen

A Professor of Livestock Genomics with University of Alberta says technological advances have expanded the usefulness of genomics in selecting breeding stock while reducing the costs. “Genomic Advances to Increase the Feed Efficiency and Carcass Quality of Grow Finish Pigs” was one of the topics discussed during the 2019 Banff Pork Seminar.
Dr. Graham Plastow, a Professor of Livestock Genomics with University of Alberta, says the use of genomics allows us to look at what genes are actually doing to accurately predict the breeding value of an animal.

Clip-Dr. Graham Plastow-University of Alberta:
I always think of the genomic era beginning in pigs in about 1991 and that was in Canada. There was a discovery which meant we could remove porcine stress syndrome Pale, Soft, Exudative meat, or at least one gene. This is very rough but, once we started to do lots of animals, maybe the cost came down to about 25 dollars an animal which we were prepared to spend for that particular trait because it had a large effect. But the cost of getting there was quite expensive and finding those large effects was difficult but then sequencing the human genome, which of course cost a fortune, we developed technologies that meant we could sequence the pig genome and then we could develop tools that enabled us to score many many markers in one assay. Instead of spending 25 dollars for one piece of information, so this is 2007-2008 that we introduced this new technology, we’d spend 250 dollars but we would get 50 thousand pieces of information so the cost was dropping and it’s dropped even more since then. It can be done very quickly. You take the sample from the animal, you send it off and you can get the result within one or two weeks so it is fast and the cost has tumbled.

Dr. Plastow says we’re making great strides with genomics and we can make further improvements.

For Farmscape.Ca, I’m Bruce Cochrane.

       *Farmscape is a presentation of Sask Pork and Manitoba Pork

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