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New lab supports preservation of genetic diversity

by 5m Editor
21 September 2007, at 10:40am

CANADA - Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada says a new research lab, which officially opened this week in Saskatoon, will be a valuable tool in efforts to preserve the genetic diversity of Canadian livestock, writes Bruce Cochrane.

The Westgen Research Suite, officially opened this week as part of the Western College of Veterinary Medicine's new state of the art research wing, will be home to the Canadian Animal Genetic Resources Centre.

The Canadian Animal Genetic Resources program is supported by the Western College of Veterinary Medicine, the University of Saskatchewan's College of Agriculture and Bioresources, and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.

Dr. Muhammad Anzar explains the program's focus is to conserve the genetic diversity of Canadian livestock and poultry breeds.

Dr. Muhammad Anzar-Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Due to the tremendous focus on few breeds there is some genetic erosion going on and this is not only in Canada but throughout the world.

Genetic diversity is being lost.

So that is the main purpose, to collect and pool genes from our indigenous breeds so that we could use it in the near future.

Due to the focus on few breeds the inbreeding coefficient is going up.

There is intensive inbreeding going on.

Plus there is some environmental threats which could wipe out certain breeds and certain species and there are some diseases which are emerging now a days and those are quite a big threat to the livestock and poultry population but all these breeds which are existing now a days, they are very important and scientists might be looking for these genes after 20 years or 50 years or 100 years, that we are looking for a particular gene which is present in these breeds in which the population is slowly going down.


Dr. Anzar notes three scientists are assigned to the Canadian Animal Genetic Resources program, two working out of the Westgen Research Suite and one working out of the University of Saskatchewan's College of Agriculture and Bioresources.

5m Editor