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Measuring genetic variations

Systems to measure genetic variations in livestock and to identify inherited diseases within herds will soon be available in Australia at the University of Queensland’s Animal Genetics Laboratory (AGL). The AGL in UQ’s School of Veterinary Science last week signed a service agreement with the Nebraska-based agri-genomics company GeneSeek, a Neogen Company, to become the Australian supplier of their genotyping technology. Geneseek’s Genomic Profilers are SNP (single nucleotide polymorphism) genotyping products used to test for a variety of genetic conditions in livestock from a single sample. The technology can be used to augment traditional genetic selection programs to assist breeders to speed-up their genetic improvement methods as well as in identifying important inherited disorders. Head of the School of Veterinary Science, Professor Glen Coleman, said this agreement would allow AGL to provide solutions to the Australian livestock industry through the science of genomics. “AGL represents an important component of UQ’s commitment to agriculture,” Prof Coleman said in a statement. “Since the mid-1990s, AGL has been playing a role in strengthening the livestock sector in Australia through provision of DNA typing for parentage verification, identification of inherited disorders in cattle and determination of performance traits such as muscling.” The genotyping products made available to AGL under its agreement with GeneSeek have already revolutionised the way in which other overseas laboratories test for genetic conditions in livestock. “By making the GeneSeek technology available in Australia, AGL will be helping to ensure the future sustainability of Australia’s livestock industries,” Prof Coleman said. GeneSeek is owned by the NASDAQ-listed Neogen Corporation and is considered the leading commercial agricultural genomics laboratory in the United States. Dr Jason Lilly, vice-president of corporate development for Neogen, said Neogen was pleased to be able to partner with UQ to deliver their products for the benefit of Australian producers. “GeneSeek has been a global leader in the development and delivery of innovative genotyping technologies over the past decade,” Dr Lilly said. The partnership will allow the AGL to provide genotyping tools from GeneSeek and deploy them in the Australian market through the AGL facilities, or send samples to the US for tests that may not be available in Australia. “Through the collaboration, GeneSeek will assist the AGL in deploying technology in Australia to ensure the most effective and cost-efficient services possible,” Dr Lilly said. “At the same time, GeneSeek laboratories in the US are available to provide back-up resources on an as-needs basis.” Neogen Corporation develops and markets products dedicated to food and animal safety. The company’s Food Safety Division markets dehydrated culture media, and diagnostic test kits to detect foodborne bacteria.

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