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News Article | April 18, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

URBANA, Ill. - What happens when meat scientists get their hands on nearly 8,000 commercially raised pigs? They spend a year running dozens of tests and crunching numbers to arrive at research-backed management recommendations for pork producers. "We had an opportunity to answer a lot of questions for the pork industry," says Dustin Boler, assistant professor in the animal sciences department at the University of Illinois. Anna Dilger, an associate professor in the department, explains their approach. "The two main questions were, 'Can I measure quality in one part of the pig and predict quality in the rest of it?' And then, 'What is the true variability in pork quality out there and what's causing it?'" The team, which also included U of I graduate students, USDA meat science researchers, and a representative from Smithfield Foods, recently published their findings in five articles. In the first article, the team looked at correlations between loin quality and quality of the belly and ham from the same pig. In this case, quality was defined mostly by color and tenderness. "Color is what drives whether or not a consumer purchases a particular pork chop. It translates into what we think of as purchase intent. Color is always number one," Boler says. "After that, we look at whether a product is tender. If it is tender enough, we think that will translate into a repeat purchase." Unfortunately, the team found no correlation between loin quality and the quality of other cuts. "Just because a loin has desirable color and is tender doesn't mean the same animal is going to produce a good belly for bacon or a great ham for a special dinner. It didn't. Hypothesis one: scratched," Boler reports. The remainder of the articles focused on understanding the variability in pork products - how much variability exists, and where it comes from. For example, one of the articles focused on barrows (castrated male pigs) and gilts (young, prebred female pigs). "We know barrows and gilts are different, but we wanted to know if they differ in how variable they are, or if one produces a more consistent product," Dilger explains. "You can deal with differences. It's harder to deal with variability." Traits associated with fatness, such as marbling, were more variable in barrows than in gilts, but the sexes varied to approximately the same degree in terms of muscling and lean quality. Based on these results, Dilger says that barrows and gilts probably do not need to be managed differently unless producers are targeting a very specific branded product. In another article, the researchers admit they had to channel their inner statistics geeks. They looked at every possible aspect of pork quality and tried to pinpoint the major sources of variability in the dataset, from season, production focus, marketing group, and sex to variation within individual animals. In the end, those individual differences accounted for the largest portion of the variability. "A lot of factors turn a pig into pork," Boler notes. "In the pig's journey from the farm to his ultimate fate, a lot of things happen. Whether he got in an argument with other pigs on the truck, whether he had to walk a long or a short distance, how much rest he was given at the plant, what kind of experience he had during termination, how that carcass was cooled. All these things can independently influence the products derived from that pig." Finding that the majority of the variability was within individual pigs and not in any particular management practice is good news for producers. "It means the things they're doing to deal with the variability in their environment are just fine. They don't need to stop doing any of those things," Dilger says. "There are things in the industry that get picked on. One of those is pigs raised in the summer. People think, 'Ah, they're so bad, so slow.' But no, they're fine. Gilts get blamed for a lot of things, too, but in the end, they're fine. We're not going to get rid of young female pigs or the summer. I believe we're stuck with those. Understanding the variability and differences allows you to better manage the system." The articles discussed here, "Pork loin quality is not indicative of fresh belly or fresh and cured ham quality," "Comparison of variability in pork carcass composition and quality between barrows and gilts," and "Characterization of variability in pork carcass composition and primal quality," are published in the Journal of Animal Science. Two additional articles resulting from the project are also published in the journal. The project was funded by The National Pork Board.


News Article | May 1, 2017
Site: phys.org

Dr. Bill Pinchak in Vernon and Dr. Gordon Carstens in College Station, both AgriLife Research animal nutritionists, have been evaluating the relationships of animal behavior in confined animal feeding operations to the onset of sickness. Along with Texas A&M University students Will Kayser and Kirby Jackson, they recently summarized the results of more than four years of research in a paper, "Evaluation of statistical process control procedures to monitor feeding behavior patterns and detect onset of bovine respiratory disease in growing bulls." Respiratory disease causes 60-90 percent of the morbidity or sickness in feedlot cattle, Pinchak said. Diagnosis is a challenge and currently relies primarily on visual appraisal to determine illness, which can vary by degrees of individual experience in diagnosing. "Typically, the accuracy is about 60 percent," he said. "So there are a lot of animals that are not diagnosed and end up being poor performers—or die. "Our goal is to develop and implement technologies that provide earlier and more accurate detection of this illness in cattle," Pinchak said. "By employing a combination of radio frequency identification tags and receivers with integrated statistical analysis and modeling, we have been able to detect morbidity based on changes in feeding behavior of cattle anywhere from two to four days earlier than visual clinical diagnosis." He said they use a combination of statistical process control modeling and multivariate analysis for various behavioral traits such as when each animal goes to the feed bunk, how frequently and the amount of time spent there. "We've been able to detect or predict accurately and repeatedly two to four days prior to clinical analysis," Pinchak said. "By utilizing a combination of sensor technology and modeling, our goal would be to decrease the duration of the illness in the cattle and the number of animals not responding to treatment or relapse rate. "We expect this could lead to decreasing the overall use of antibiotics and expenses, improving overall animal health and welfare, and improving feed efficiency and overall economic and environmental sustainability of commercial feeding operations," he said. This diagnosis system would require a dashboard at the feed yard and radio-frequency identification tags. And while Pinchak said neither is prevalent in feed yards yet, if the economics are there, they could be. "We need to develop next generation technology that improves bovine respiratory disease management based on individual animal diagnosis through a combination of radio frequency identification technology and statistical modeling integrated into a robust, user-friendly analytic platform," he said. "We've completed the first pass, now we need to follow up with the experiments where animals will be challenged with bovine respiratory disease pathogens and their behavior responses measured to determine the robustness of this integrated sensor modeling approach." The next step, Pinchak said, will be to use the system with high risk cattle coming into a commercial feed yard and testing in that environment before developing a commercially viable system within the next two to five years. More information: W. C. Kayser et al. 043 Evaluation of Statistical Process Control Procedures to Monitor Feeding Behavior Patterns and Detect Onset of Bovine Respiratory Disease in Growing Bulls., Journal of Animal Science (2016). DOI: 10.2527/ssasas2017.043


News Article | May 4, 2017
Site: www.thefishsite.com

Multinational feed additive producer Nutriad announced the appointment of Dr Wei Wang as Technical Manager for China. As part of an ongoing strategy to increase its presence in this dynamic market, Nutriad continues to invest in building technical and commercial support teams in China, allowing them to further improve their constant engagement and support to customers. BK Chew, APAC Director Nutriad, commented "China is the main growth engine within APAC and the appointment of Dr Wang will enable increased technical support for our applications in mycotoxin management and gut health.” Dr. Wei completed a total of 10 years of studies in animal nutrition, obtaining a BSc in Animal Science at Southwest University of Science & Technology, a MSc in Swine Nutrition at Sichuan Agriculture University and PhD in Applied Biological Science, Swine Nutrition at Ghent University. Dr Wang said, “I have always been fascinated by converting scientific knowledge on animal nutrition and health into practical solutions. As such I have admired Nutriad from the outside for many years and am excited to now become part of the Chinese team and support the company on its next steps in China.” Nutriad, headquartered in Belgium, provides feed additives and services to over 80 countries worldwide through a network of own offices and distributors, supported by 4 application laboratories and 5 manufacturing facilities located on 3 continents. Find out more at www.nutriad.com


News Article | April 18, 2017
Site: phys.org

"We had an opportunity to answer a lot of questions for the pork industry," says Dustin Boler, assistant professor in the animal sciences department at the University of Illinois. Anna Dilger, an associate professor in the department, explains their approach. "The two main questions were, 'Can I measure quality in one part of the pig and predict quality in the rest of it?' And then, 'What is the true variability in pork quality out there and what's causing it?'" The team, which also included U of I graduate students, USDA meat science researchers, and a representative from Smithfield Foods, recently published their findings in five articles. In the first article, the team looked at correlations between loin quality and quality of the belly and ham from the same pig. In this case, quality was defined mostly by color and tenderness. "Color is what drives whether or not a consumer purchases a particular pork chop. It translates into what we think of as purchase intent. Color is always number one," Boler says. "After that, we look at whether a product is tender. If it is tender enough, we think that will translate into a repeat purchase." Unfortunately, the team found no correlation between loin quality and the quality of other cuts. "Just because a loin has desirable color and is tender doesn't mean the same animal is going to produce a good belly for bacon or a great ham for a special dinner. It didn't. Hypothesis one: scratched," Boler reports. The remainder of the articles focused on understanding the variability in pork products - how much variability exists, and where it comes from. For example, one of the articles focused on barrows (castrated male pigs) and gilts (young, prebred female pigs). "We know barrows and gilts are different, but we wanted to know if they differ in how variable they are, or if one produces a more consistent product," Dilger explains. "You can deal with differences. It's harder to deal with variability." Traits associated with fatness, such as marbling, were more variable in barrows than in gilts, but the sexes varied to approximately the same degree in terms of muscling and lean quality. Based on these results, Dilger says that barrows and gilts probably do not need to be managed differently unless producers are targeting a very specific branded product. In another article, the researchers admit they had to channel their inner statistics geeks. They looked at every possible aspect of pork quality and tried to pinpoint the major sources of variability in the dataset, from season, production focus, marketing group, and sex to variation within individual animals. In the end, those individual differences accounted for the largest portion of the variability. "A lot of factors turn a pig into pork," Boler notes. "In the pig's journey from the farm to his ultimate fate, a lot of things happen. Whether he got in an argument with other pigs on the truck, whether he had to walk a long or a short distance, how much rest he was given at the plant, what kind of experience he had during termination, how that carcass was cooled. All these things can independently influence the products derived from that pig." Finding that the majority of the variability was within individual pigs and not in any particular management practice is good news for producers. "It means the things they're doing to deal with the variability in their environment are just fine. They don't need to stop doing any of those things," Dilger says. "There are things in the industry that get picked on. One of those is pigs raised in the summer. People think, 'Ah, they're so bad, so slow.' But no, they're fine. Gilts get blamed for a lot of things, too, but in the end, they're fine. We're not going to get rid of young female pigs or the summer. I believe we're stuck with those. Understanding the variability and differences allows you to better manage the system." The articles discussed here, "Pork loin quality is not indicative of fresh belly or fresh and cured ham quality," "Comparison of variability in pork carcass composition and quality between barrows and gilts," and "Characterization of variability in pork carcass composition and primal quality," are published in the Journal of Animal Science. Two additional articles resulting from the project are also published in the journal. The project was funded by The National Pork Board. Explore further: Ractopamine is safe for use in Brazilian pork More information: E. K. Arkfeld et al, , Journal of Animal Science (2017). DOI: 10.2527/jas.2016.1097


News Article | April 28, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

According to recommendations from the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration, adult Danes should consume at least 75 g whole meal a day. However, it is not only the contents of vitamins, minerals and fibers that make whole grain products such as rye bread and oatmeal healthy. Several studies have demonstrated an inverse relationship between intake of whole grain and the risk of developing lifestyle diseases, including cancer, cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes. This concerns specifically lignans, which are diphenolic compounds found in all grain types. The content of lignans are higher in whole grains than in refined grains. Rye, in particular, has a high content of lignans. Once ingested, our intestinal bacteria metabolize the plant lignans into enterolignans, which have a chemical structure similar to oestrogen. The structure of enterolignans is the most likely reason why enterolignans have a positive effect in relation to the development of breast cancer. However, a large study carried out in a collaboration between Aarhus University and The Danish Cancer Society has now demonstrated that the use of antibiotics may counteract a series of beneficial effects of whole grain intake. The study is based on data from a large Danish cohort study, "Diets, Cancer and Health", where more than 57,000 Danes - in the period from 1993 to 1997 - submitted detailed information on their respective diets and lifestyles as well as biological material in the form of blood, adipose tissue, urine and toenails. Subsequently, more than 2200 participants have developed cancer in the period from 1996 to 2009. This particular group of people was examined in detail. Enterolignan levels were measured in blood and the results merged with data on their use of antibiotics, registered in The Danish National Prescription Registry. - It turns out that there is a significant correlation between use of antibiotics and lower enterolignan concentrations in the blood, especially for women. For women, who have used antibiotics up to three months prior to blood sampling the concentration was as much as 40 percent lower than for the women who did not use antibiotics, explains Professor Knud Erik Bach Knudsen, Department of Animal Science at Aarhus University. He further explains that the study indicates that enterolignan levels in the blood is linked to time since use of antibiotics. He emphasizes that even after several months the concentration is still reduced indicating that the bacteria, which convert plant lignans to enterolignans remains affected for a longer period. - The results confirm our hypothesis, and also point towards the importance of maintaining a restrictive use of antibiotics. You will not achieve the full beneficial effects of whole grain, when the intestinal bacteria are negatively affected by antibiotics. Most likely, it also applies to a number of other compounds present in the diet and which require microbial conversion in order to have a positive effect on health, says Knud Erik Bach Knudsen. In order to achieve a more thorough understanding of the role of antibiotics in lignan metabolism, a controlled intervention study with pigs was carried out. This study also demonstrated that antibiotic treatments result in blood enterolignan concentrations that were 37 percent lower than in a control group that was not treated with antibiotics. - This is the first time that an animal experiment confirms a direct relationship between enterolignan concentrations and antibiotic treatments, says Knud Erik Bach Knudsen. As far as we know, this work is also the first to show that the negative effect of antibiotics on enterolactones is dependent on gender. Thus, there is a need for further studies to identify the reasons for this difference.


News Article | February 23, 2017
Site: www.prleap.com

(PRLEAP.COM) February 23, 2017 - MV Transportation, Inc. (MV) is excited to announce that it has made several promotions to its Business Development Team.George Lee has been promoted from Director to Vice President of Business Development. He will be responsible for building new business relationships in the company's western region focused on the Core business market.George joined MV in 2011 as an Operations Manager responsible for operating complex and large fixed route and shuttle services. He joined the company's sales team in 2015 as Director of Business Development.  George has been recognized for outstanding achievements in both operations and sales, and his success in both has made him a valuable asset to our team. As a Director of BD, George secured several shuttle, paratransit and fixed-route service wins for the company. Most recently, George was instrumental in securing a large fixed route project resulting in one of the company's biggest wins this year, a contract valued at approximately $40M per year in annual revenue. George discovered his love for public transportation while working as a part-time bus operator as a student at the University of California at Davis.  He graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science from the University shortly before joining MV's team.George's past experiences at UC Davis as a driver and manager, along with his operations experience in both large and complex operations gives him a unique set of skills and the knowledge to truly understand our client's needs," said Joe Escobedo, Senior Vice President of Business Development. "He is able to create strong operational plans that meet and exceed our client's expectations, and is a total team player always willing to share his knowledge and help others to grow."Larry Biggers, Jr. joined MV in 2016 as a Sales Development Representative and quickly achieved several successes. As a result, he has been promoted to Director of Business Development for the western region focused on the Core business market. Larry will be responsible for assisting the Sales and Procurement teams in developing operational plans and strategies to win new business and to secure the retention of current business.Larry has been with the company for 14 months, starting as an intern for the Business Development team. He was eventually hired full-time as the Sales Development Representative for the emerging business development team. In that role, he was able to prospect over $90 million in new business, and won two new shuttle contracts for the company.Prior to joining MV, Larry worked as a Driver Coordinator for SCR Medical Transportation, where he was responsible for helping to coordinate logistics, scheduling strategies, safety, compliance initiatives, and administrative support roles to facilitate the execution of more than 4,000 passenger rides, daily.Larry is a Chicago native and received his Bachelor's Degree in Communications from Central Michigan University in Mt. Pleasant, MI.Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, MV Transportation is the largest private provider of paratransit services and the largest privately-owned passenger transportation contracting firm based in the United States. Founded in 1974 in San Francisco with one van and three employees, the company currently employs more than 20,000 dedicated transit professionals and operations more than 15,000 vehicles a day.


News Article | February 16, 2017
Site: globenewswire.com

Innovative, First-to-Market Product Significantly Improves Animal Health, Creating Benefits Throughout the Food Chain; Independent Academic Study from Leading Animal Science Expert Dr. David Newman Confirms OceanFeed Swine™ Improves Gut Health and Immunity CHICAGO and MILLTOWN, Ireland, Feb. 16, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Ocean Harvest Technology, a global company producing patent-protected animal feed solutions centered on the bioactive ingredients present in different seaweeds, today announced the launch of its flagship product OceanFeed Swine™ in North America. “As the first patented, all-natural, seaweed-based, animal feed ingredient, OceanFeed is already being utilized by farmers around the world to improve the health of animals and we are delighted to be officially bringing OceanFeed Swine to North America,” said Patrick Martin, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Ocean Harvest Technology.  “Innovative approaches to improving animal health are critical to the future of the food industry and OceanFeed is the first natural, cost-effective tool of its kind that helps solve many of the most pressing issues.” “I have dedicated more than 25 years of my life to study the 13,000 types of seaweed in our oceans and have isolated a specific group that, in certain blends, harness the amazing bioactive properties of seaweed to improve animal health and nutrition,” explained Dr. Stefan Kraan, Co-Founder and Scientific Director of Ocean Harvest Technology. “Introducing OceanFeed to animals’ diets has been proven to significantly improve the gut health and immune system and is a natural alternative for certain antibiotics and growth promoters used in the animal feed sector.” By significantly improving the gut health and immune system of the animals, OceanFeed Swine™ delivers: “In my roles as a pork producer, a scientist, and a leader in the U.S. swine industry I am well aware of the need for new tools to improve the efficiency and health of our livestock,” explained Dr. David Newman PhD, Farmer and Co-Owner of Newman Farm Heritage Berkshire Pork, and Associate Professor of Animal Sciences at Arkansas State University. “I was initially skeptical about OHT’s claims, but our data indicates that OceanFeed Swine has a positive impact on gut health and immunity, without affecting performance or pork quality. The new Veterinary Feed Directive from the FDA is changing the landscape for swine production and animal health management in the U.S., and I believe that OHT has created a valuable tool that could be adopted across the industry. Simply put, OceanFeed Swine improves gut health and improving gut health improves pig performance.” Dr. Newman added, “Millions of swine face health issues in the U.S. every year, creating substantial additional costs for producers including, purchasing pharmaceuticals, additional labor, and veterinary oversight. I believe many producers would use a non-antibiotic feed ingredient, at a reasonable cost, to prevent such health challenges. I have personally seen improvements in swine herds from the use of OceanFeed Swine and use it in my own operation.” OceanFeed™ and the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) Widespread environmental and health concerns have spurred demand for natural and sustainable farm products produced without the use of growth hormones, antibiotics, or other synthetics. The FDA has recently taken steps to change how medically important antibiotics can be used in the feed and water of livestock. In passing the VFD, the FDA aims to ensure that these drugs can only be administered by a veterinarian, when needed, for specific animal health purposes. By improving animal gut health, Ocean Harvest Technology’s OceanFeed™ significantly reduces the need for antibiotics and growth promoters, allowing farmers to comply with the new VFD requirements. About Ocean Harvest Technology Ocean Harvest Technology (OHT) is a global company that produces animal feed solutions based on a variety of patented formulas centered on the bioactive ingredients present in different seaweeds.  The Company provides a range of natural ingredients focused on improving the health of animals, the environment, and the consumer. Founded in 2005 by Dr. Stefan Kraan and Patrick Martin, Ocean Harvest Technology has operations in Europe, Asia, Australia, and North America. For more information please visit www.oceanharvest.ie. About OceanFeed™ OceanFeed™ is the first patented, all-natural, seaweed-based animal feed ingredient that has been proven to significantly reduce the need for antibiotics and growth promoters in the animal feed sector. OceanFeed™ formulations were specially selected for their benefits to animal gut health and nutrient uptake. It has been proven to provide immune support, improve quality, and reduce or eradicate the need for many chemicals and antibiotics used today. OceanFeed™ improves feed intake and increases production, weight gain, and fertility in multiple species.


News Article | March 2, 2017
Site: phys.org

An interdisciplinary team of Cornell researchers in animal science, entomology, nutritional sciences, business, microbiology and immunology is investigating a system for using housefly larvae to biodegrade manure and harvest the larvae for use as protein-rich animal feed. Their research is published in the Feb. 7 issue of the journal PLOS One. Larva meal could address a pressing need to replace fishmeal in aquaculture. The massive demand for fishmeal to feed all kinds of livestock has led to overfishing of fish stocks worldwide. Larva feed is proving to be a sustainable alternative; it contains the right nutritional ingredients for feeding fish, poultry and other livestock. "I think feed from insects is the future of animal farming," said Vimal Selvaraj, associate professor of integrative physiology in the Department of Animal Science and a senior author of the study. "We are talking about something that has been untapped. Insects are very rapid biomass generators, and they do not have negative impacts when used as meal, as far as we know." The researchers – for the first time – analyzed how efficiently housefly larvae recycled nutrients from dairy cattle manure, and they measured the nutritional value of the resulting larva meal as a feed ingredient. "We concluded from the study that the overall composition of larva meal with respect to all nutrients, including amino acids and minerals, is comparable to fishmeal and would be a good alternative for use as a protein-rich feed ingredient for livestock," Selvaraj said. Their analysis showed that fly larvae lessened the overall mass of the manure and reduced total nitrogen by nearly 25 percent and phosphorus by more than 6 percent. Reducing levels of these nutrients in manure makes a more suitable compost. Otherwise, untreated manure used as fertilizer leads to runoff of excess nitrogen and phosphorus into streams and rivers, which causes eutrophication in lakes and oceans, contaminates groundwater and can spread disease. When researchers measured the nutritional values of the larva meal, they found it rivaled the highest protein feed ingredients, including widely used fishmeal. The larva meal contained 60 percent protein, had a well-balanced amino acid profile and 20 percent fat that was high in monounsaturated fats. The meal was also found to be a good source of calcium and phosphorus. Fly larvae yields equal about 2 percent of manure weight, which has led some economists to question the profitability of fly larva meal. Yet the U.S. livestock industry generates some 335 million tons of dry manure per year. "In farming-dense regions there is enough manure available to have a substantial impact on larva meal production," Selvaraj said, adding, "This paper is a first step toward realizing this potential." More information: Mahmoud Hussein et al. Sustainable production of housefly (Musca domestica) larvae as a protein-rich feed ingredient by utilizing cattle manure, PLOS ONE (2017). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0171708


News Article | February 17, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Gene editing -- one of the newest and most promising tools of biotechnology -- enables animal breeders to make beneficial genetic changes, without bringing along unwanted genetic changes. And, following in the footsteps of traditional breeding, gene editing has tremendous potential to boost the sustainability of livestock production, while also enhancing food-animal health and welfare, argues UC Davis animal scientist Alison Van Eenennaam. She will examine the potential benefits of genome editing Friday, Feb. 17, at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, to be held in Boston's Hynes Convention Center. Her presentation will be part of a 3 p.m. EST session titled "The Potential of Gene Editing to Revolutionize Agriculture," moderated by acclaimed molecular biologist Nina Federoff. Van Eenennaam also will participate in a news briefing on this topic at noon EST on Saturday, Feb. 18, in Room 103 of the convention center. Thanks to improvements made in the dairy industry through traditional breeding, a glass of milk today is associated with just one third of the greenhouse gas emissions linked to producing a glass of milk in the 1940s, says Van Eenennaam, a UC Cooperative Extension biotechnology specialist in the UC Davis Department of Animal Science. That was accomplished as traditional selective breeding improved the productivity of dairy cows so much that the number of dairy cows in the United States dropped from a high of 25.6 million in 1944 to about 9 million today, even as the country experienced a 1.6 fold increase in total milk production, she says. "A number of breeding methods, including artificial insemination, embryo transfer, crossbreeding and, more recently, genomic selection, have been used to achieve these improvements," Van Eenennaam says. "Now, genome editing promises to complement traditional breeding programs by precisely introducing desirable genetic variations into livestock breeding programs." She notes that genome editing has already been used to prevent livestock disease, including making pigs resistant to porcine reproductive and respiratory virus, and to improve animal welfare by developing dairy cows that don't require horn removal. Research is underway to extend applications of gene editing in the future. Gene editing might, for example, make it possible to produce offspring of only one gender, such as only hens for egg-laying operations. The potential for applying gene-editing techniques to make improvements in food-animal production largely hinges on future regulatory processes, according to Van Eenennaam. "It's not yet clear what regulatory status food-animals produced with gene editing will have," Van Eenennaam says, noting that gene editing does not transfer novel DNA into an animal, but can be used to make changes within the animal's own genes. "The resulting DNA sequence may be identical to existing, naturally-occurring DNA sequences," she says. "The prospect that gene-edited animals would be subject to the same type of regulations that apply to an animal drug -- even though their genetic modifications might be indistinguishable from those obtained through conventional breeding -- is a concern for animal breeders who are eager to employ genome editing to complement traditional genetic improvement programs."


News Article | February 18, 2017
Site: phys.org

And, following in the footsteps of traditional breeding, gene editing has tremendous potential to boost the sustainability of livestock production, while also enhancing food-animal health and welfare, argues UC Davis animal scientist Alison Van Eenennaam. She will examine the potential benefits of genome editing Friday, Feb. 17, at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, to be held in Boston's Hynes Convention Center. Her presentation will be part of a session titled "The Potential of Gene Editing to Revolutionize Agriculture," moderated by acclaimed molecular biologist Nina Federoff. Van Eenennaam also will participate in a news briefing on this topic at noon EST on Saturday, Feb. 18, in Room 103 of the convention center. Thanks to improvements made in the dairy industry through traditional breeding, a glass of milk today is associated with just one third of the greenhouse gas emissions linked to producing a glass of milk in the 1940s, says Van Eenennaam, a UC Cooperative Extension biotechnology specialist in the UC Davis Department of Animal Science. That was accomplished as traditional selective breeding improved the productivity of dairy cows so much that the number of dairy cows in the United States dropped from a high of 25.6 million in 1944 to about 9 million today, even as the country experienced a 1.6 fold increase in total milk production, she says. "A number of breeding methods, including artificial insemination, embryo transfer, crossbreeding and, more recently, genomic selection, have been used to achieve these improvements," Van Eenennaam says. "Now, genome editing promises to complement traditional breeding programs by precisely introducing desirable genetic variations into livestock breeding programs." She notes that genome editing has already been used to prevent livestock disease, including making pigs resistant to porcine reproductive and respiratory virus, and to improve animal welfare by developing dairy cows that don't require horn removal. Research is underway to extend applications of gene editing in the future. Gene editing might, for example, make it possible to produce offspring of only one gender, such as only hens for egg-laying operations. The potential for applying gene-editing techniques to make improvements in food-animal production largely hinges on future regulatory processes, according to Van Eenennaam. "It's not yet clear what regulatory status food-animals produced with gene editing will have," Van Eenennaam says, noting that gene editing does not transfer novel DNA into an animal, but can be used to make changes within the animal's own genes. "The resulting DNA sequence may be identical to existing, naturally-occurring DNA sequences," she says. "The prospect that gene-edited animals would be subject to the same type of regulations that apply to an animal drug—even though their genetic modifications might be indistinguishable from those obtained through conventional breeding—is a concern for animal breeders who are eager to employ genome editing to complement traditional genetic improvement programs." Explore further: Tuberculosis-resistant cows developed for the first time using CRISPR technology

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