By Bruce Cochrane
Researchers working on behalf of Swine Innovation Porc are confident the use of genomics will allow swine breeders to select breeding stock that will be more resilient to disease.
As part of research being conducted on behalf of Swine Innovation Porc scientists are developing new tools to enable effective genomic selection for disease resilience.
The use of genetic markers to identify traits, was first used in the dairy industry to predict performance potential and identify superior breeding stock.
Dr. Graham Plastow, a professor with the University of Alberta and CEO of Livestock Gentec, says genomic selection has allowed more accurate assessment of the potential of breeding bulls at birth and scientists are now working to apply the technology to the selection of swine for disease resistance.
Dr. Graham Plastow-University of Alberta:
This technology is very useful for traits which are difficult to measure or take a long time to measure, such as the performance of daughters in the case of those dairy bulls.
It's very very difficult to think of how to select for animals that are more resistant to disease or lesser impacted by disease.
The idea with genomic selection is that you have a way of scanning the whole genome of an animal early in life and if you've measured these traits in a large number of animals you can then calibrate that tool and be able to genotype new animals and predict their performance.
What we're doing is we're gathering information on variation in the susceptibility to diseases.
Dr. Plastow says an understanding of the variations in susceptibility of pigs to diseases such as PRRS and PCVAD will allow breeders to select animals that will recover faster and be easier to treat.