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Genetics conference brings AbacusBio to global stage

A team of AbacusBio consultants have recently travelled to Australia for the biennial Association for the Advancement of Animal Breeding and Genetics conference.

Held in Lorne, Victoria, the three-day programme consisted of an interesting line-up of speakers discussing a wide breadth of topics – from statistical genetics and gene mapping to livestock productivity and breeding programmes.

“The conference has given me some new and really interesting insights to the latest cutting-edge industry research,” Bruno Santos says, “which gave me a new perspective on the work we do at AbacusBio”.

Hadyn Craig, who gave a presentation describing the change in accuracy of estimated breeding values for VIAscan lean-meat yield (when estimated from half-sibling records), says that the conference was a really good opportunity for us to share our research with the industry and open up new opportunities for further research.

The key takeaway message of the programme was that genetics continue to be a key player in growing economic and productivity gains in livestock sectors.

It is however crucial for such genetic improvement programmes to be integrated across the whole value chain – involving farmers, producers, and scientists.

“Most of the issues we face in New Zealand are not uncommon overseas, and by sharing this information, we are able to work together on solutions from an international point of view,” says Luke Proctor, who gave a presentation on the implications of manipulating the ewe live weight penalty in New Zealand maternal sheep indexes.

Other speakers from AbacusBio included:

  • Tim Byrne, who was the session chair for ‘Breeding objectives and economics’ and presented a review of the national breeding objective and selection indexes for the Australian dairy industry;
  • Fiona Hely, who discussed nonlinear calving diffi culty weightings in the Irish dairy industry;
  • Daniel Martin-Collado, who discussed the evaluation of alternative selection indexes for non-linear profit traits approaching their economic optimum; and
  • Peter Amer, who gave two presentations, one of which highlighted the impact of fi tting incorrect models on the partitioning of genetic variance components for binomial lamb traits, and the other on the proposed changes to the genetic evaluation of dairy fertility in New Zealand.

To access the conference proceedings, visit the website www.aaabg2015.org/