Harper Government Invests in New Technology to Support Cattle Industry

EDMONTON, ALBERTA — (Marketwire) — 01/10/13 — An Alberta company will boost the value and use of genomics in the cattle industry with new trait identification tools. Parliamentary Secretary Pierre Lemieux, on behalf of Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, and the Honourable Laurie Hawn, PC, CD, MP (Edmonton Centre) announced today an investment in Delta Genomics Centre to provide genomics technology to the Canadian cattle sector in order to optimize productivity.

“Our Government remains focused on the economy, and Canada’s world-class beef industry relies on the latest technologies to increase their competitiveness and grow our economy,” said PS Lemieux. “Using genomic tools for breeding and selection can help producers lower costs of production and deliver a better quality product to the market and boost their bottom lines.”

“The continued success of Canadian agriculture depends on the ability of our producers to remain at the top of the pack when it comes to innovation,” said MP Hawn. “This investment shows that our Government is committed to the advancement of our agriculture innovation sector.”

The investment of more than $575,000 will help Delta Genomics Centre accelerate the adoption of new genetic profiling tools that are more accurate, less costly and less time-consuming than traditional DNA tools. Potential future benefits extend to feed lot owners and processors, who will use the technology to efficiently pinpoint animals with the right meat qualities.

These innovative tools use genomics technology to give producers the chance to look “under the hide” and make improvements to their cattle. Genomics, the study of an animal’s genetic composition (DNA) or “profile,” can identify valuable traits like disease resistance, carcass quality, or feed efficiency.

Using new technology, the tools identify SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms) which are genetic markers that can be tracked between parents and their offspring. Trait selection for markers such as meat quality, animal health and feed efficiency can lead to a more consistent product in the marketplace. Similar technology is being implemented in other countries.

The funding will help Delta Genomics Centre collect and analyze samples from the cattle sector for SNP testing. The samples and profile results will be catalogued for use by Canadian breed associations.”This project is an essential stepping stone to get the benefits of genomics into the hands of producers on the ground” said Colin Coros, VP Operations of Delta Genomics Centre. “It will allow our project partners to adopt a new sire identification tool, which is fundamental to using more in depth DNA profiles for genetic improvement of Canadian cattle.”