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Livestock and the Promise of Genomics

10 December 2013

The application of genomics offers huge potential to help feed the growing global human population with animal products sustainably, according to leading academics at the University of Alberta in Canada, using examples in cattle and pigs.

The emergence of the middle class in countries such as Brazil, Russia, India and China is resulting in increasing global demand for animal-based food products.

In the journal, Genome, Jagjit S. Ludu and Graham S. Plastow from the University of Alberta report that this increase represents a unique opportunity for Canadian livestock producers to export their products to new markets and expand the country's reputation as a global provider of safe and highest quality food items.

Their article has two major themes. Firstly, current Canadian contributions to livestock genomics in the cattle and swine industries are outlined and second, they discuss important future opportunities, including the high throughput collection of phenotypic data, development of environmentally friendly livestock, emergence of decision support software, and the use of Web 2.0.

Through the use of genomic technologies, livestock producers can not only ensure that the nutritional demands of Canada are secured but also play a pivotal role in ensuring the rest of the world is fed as well, the researchers say.

Furthermore, investment through initiatives led by Genome Canada has ensured that the country is in a favourable position to contribute cutting-edge solutions to meet this global challenge.

Ludu and Plastow conclude that genomic-based innovations will enable producers to increase efficiency, lower production costs, decrease the use of prophylactics and limit the expenditure of resources.


Ludu J.S. and G.S. Plastow. 2013. Livestock and the promise of genomics. 2013. Genome, 2013, 56(10): 556-566, 10.1139/gen-2013-0080

Further Reading

You can view the full report by clicking here.

December 2013

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