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Genomics Offers Potential to Identify Disease Resilient Livestock
Dr. Graham Plastow - University of Alberta

Farmscape for April 10, 2018

A professor of livestock genomics with the University of Alberta suggests the ability to identify livestock that will be more resilient to and recover more quickly from disease holds tremdous promise.
Scientists working on behalf of Swine Innovation Porc are using genomics in the development of new tools to enable the selection of breeding stock for disease resilience.
Dr. Graham Plastow, a professor of livestock genomics with the University of Alberta, says disease resilience is a difficult trait to identify so the goal here is to apply genomics to identify such traits, to determine where they are heritable and to apply that information to the selection of breeding stock.

Clip-Dr. Graham Plastow-University of Alberta:
We really would like to find animals which are resilient to different diseases or multiple diseases.
Our focus has been on PRRS because that's the most expensive or the hardest hitting disease across the world in pigs.
The syndrome, as the name suggests, is an outcome of the PRRS virus but also other pathogens et involved in the disease once the disease is infecting the pigs so this multiple disease aspect is something that we've worked hard on to see how we can approach that.
The last element is society's increasing focus on antimicrobial resistance.
All of those things, the difficulty in making  improvements for resilience, the fact that it hopefully would address more than one disease and the potential to help alleviate antimicrobial resistance all make it a very exciting area for us to be working in.

Dr. Plastow says genomics is particularly attractive for identifying traits which are difficult to measure and disease resilience and animal health is a really good example.
For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.

       *Farmscape is a presentation of Sask Pork and Manitoba Pork

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