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Genetic research to improve Canadian swine competitiveness


November 18, 2020
By Manure Manager

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Genome Canada is funding further research by Michael Dyck on improving pig health and genetic competitiveness. Dyck, professor of animal biotechnology at the University of Alberta, received $1 million in funding through Genome Canada’s Genomics Application Partnership Program (GAPP).

Dyck’s team will work to validate the genomic indicators of disease resilience that can be used by commercial pork producers to improve their selective breeding programs.

PigGen Canada will provide end-user support for the project – a necessity for GAPP-funded projects. The not-for-profit organization was formed in 2009 to develop strategies and support for Canadian swine genetics research. They represent most of Canada’s swine breeding organizations.

Bob Kemp, co-lead on the project and a member of PigGens’ board of directors, said, “PigGen Canada is very excited about the outcomes of this project. It provides opportunities to validate important technologies identified in the previous Genome Canada projects and ensure implementation of these important technologies into PigGen Canada member genetic improvement programs focusing on pig health”.

The breeding strategies the project develops aim to increase genetic improvement in pig health, reduce antibiotic use, increase the production and competitiveness of pork products, and enhance the competitiveness of Canadian swine genetics.

“The GAPP funding will allow us to confirm the markers and indicator traits of disease resilience that we identified in our previous LSARP (large-scale applied research project) and will help to integrate them into the industry to benefit all levels of the pig and pork production,” Dyck said.