IMC LIV AGBPfinalReport Final Mar20 2



IMC LIV AGBPfinalReport Final Mar20 2
to Ranch
Alberta Bovine Genomics Program
January 2006 — December 2010
of Contents
Message from
the Program Leader
Message from the Program Leader 01
It is with great pleasure that I write this foreword for the Alberta Bovine Genomics Program’s
(ABGP) final report. I leave having established the ABGP as one of the world’s premier livestock
genomics programs. The years 2006–10 were watershed years in genomics science, and the ABGP
played a pivotal part in developing the next generation of technologies and applying them in
livestock species. The first bovine genome sequence was published in 2009. The pig genome was
sequenced in 2010. The sheep genome neared completion soon after that. ABGP scientists played
key roles in all of these.
Vision, Goals, Research Areas04
Commercial Benefits of Genomics05
Major Achievements
ü Recognized as an International Leader
ü Delivered Marker Technologies
ü Ensured the Transfer of Technology
ü Established Lasting Partnerships
ü Attracted High Levels of Funding
ü Trained the Next Generation of Scientists and Users
Lead Scientists18
A Look Forward: Message from Livestock Gentec’s CEO
The ABGP’s objective was to provide tools for industry. The development of a genotyping tool,
which is now the standard for dairy breeding internationally, was based on ABGP work. So were
gene marker tests that are now used as genetic predictors for a number of traits in beef cattle.
The ABGP provided a fertile training program for the next generation of scientists. PhD and
Master’s students found positions in industry, government and laboratories around the world. The
reputation of Alberta-based science has been strengthened, and the group at the University of
Alberta is now recognized as a top training option for students globally.
I trust that what has now become a broader livestock genomics program will continue to prosper
and gain the support necessary to keep Alberta at the forefront of the field.
Principal Funders:
Professor Stephen Moore
Program Leader, Alberta Bovine Genomics Program
Centre Director, Centre for Animal Science
Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation
University of Queensland
Program Host:
Alberta Bovine Genomics Program, January 2006 — December 2010
From Research to Ranch
What Is Genomics?
Generally, genomics is the science that studies an organism’s
entire genome—that is, its DNA sequence. It analyzes the
Alberta has invested in and built a world-class genomics research and innovation system. It has a
high-quality breeding herd, low-cost production practices and superior management practices. It is
already a major player in the North American meat industry.
Canada is the world’s 3rd largest exporter of feed grain.
It has robust animal health systems and identification
protocols, and sound expertise in large-scale livestock
Meat consumption in developing countries is expected
to account for more than 80 percent of global growth
in meat commodities over the next decade. The highest
growth rates are projected for vegetable oils and
livestock products.
However, other countries are developing their livestock
industries, and this is putting pressure on Canada’s
ability to be competitive.
“I see the science of genomics as
the salvation for most of the major
issues facing society today…To me,
this is the big picture reason why
Canada must allow this animal
genomics research initiative to go
forward, and in so doing regain its
lost competitive advantage in
relationship between genetics and traits, and uses the data to
answer scientific questions and solve practical problems.
Specifically, the data provide information on individual
animals. This information could be identity, pedigree,
performance potential, or the animal’s response to nutrition
or preventative health measures. Producers can use that
information to breed selectively and improve their stock.
John Webb, Director of Genetics and Science,
Maple Leaf Foods Inc., June 2008
Genomics technologies have already helped the
Canadian dairy industry make tremendous advances in
breeding, yield and health. They are doing the same for other sectors of the livestock industry.
About the Alberta Bovine Genomics Program
The Alberta Bovine Genomics Program (ABGP) built on the research and international reputation
established by Dr. Stephen Moore, Program Leader, in bovine genomics.
The ABGP brought together a group of highly skilled scientists in genomics, genetics and bioinformatics, and addressed the need for better breeding and management technologies through
cutting-edge research.
The ABGP developed into a world-leading centre for genomics research and technology
development, and pioneered the development of tests for genome-wide association studies in
The success of the ABGP set the stage for Livestock Gentec, an Alberta Innovates Bio Solution
Centre, created from the Program in 2010. Livestock Gentec extends the genomics scope to other
species, and expands on existing technology transfer and industry collaboration efforts.
Alberta Bovine Genomics Program, January 2006 — December 2010
From Research to Ranch
Vision and
Commercial Benefits of
For Producers
• Lower costs.
• 9-10 percent lower herd maintenance.1
• 20-40 percent estimated genetic gain.2
• 10-12 percent less feed used by animals that grow faster. (A genetic test to determine
which animals have this trait would more than pay for itself.)1
Become Canada’s leading centre for bovine genomics.
ü Establish more collaborations based on existing international and national linkages, and
recruit top talent to the Program.
ü Deliver advanced genetic and genomics technologies to improve animal production and
health and maintain Canada’s competitive advantage in the livestock industry.
ü Become an international leader in bovine genomics research, development and technology
transfer, focusing on advanced breeding and reproductive technologies.
ü Create Alberta-based, spin-off companies.
Research Areas
Genomics focuses on identifying gene sequences and
examining how these correlate to desired performance
and economic traits. Applying this knowledge to
breeding and production management strategies is vital
to the long-term competitiveness of the Alberta beef
industry. To this end, the ABGP targeted two key areas of
research and development:
• Faster genetic improvement. Even with the best conventional breeding and reproduction
technologies, it still takes five years to rear a bull calf to sexual maturity and progeny-test its
offspring. Using genomics tools could compress the entire cycle and have the first superior
calves born in little more than a year.
• Better animal health. Understanding genomics
may lead to better vaccines and disease immunity,
new gene-based targets for treatment, faster
response times to new threats and the potential to
breed healthier animals.
“As livestock and aquaculture
markets become increasingly
competitive, breeders will require
new means to improve their
Joachim Richert, CEO and Managing Director,
DNA LandMarks (BASF)
1. Advanced Breeding Technologies: developing
DNA marker tests and genetic indexes that will
allow beef producers to select for desired performance traits, such as improved feed
efficiency, carcass quality, health management and quality assurance.
• Increased competitiveness. Other countries are
already using genomics-based technologies to
improve their livestock industries.
For the Value Chain
• Safer, healthier meat. Breeding for animals that
respond better to vaccination, carry a lower burden
of animal-to-human organisms and need fewer
antibiotics improves safety throughout the
food chain.
2. Structural Genomics: building the basis for continual improvement. This involves
developing detailed genetic “road maps” of individual animals that are the core of the tools
necessary for the ongoing development and application of selection strategies.
Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute, 2007
• Improved traceability. Genomic information and infrastructure can advance biosafety
programs by tracing animals through their DNA. This will allow disease outbreaks or
contamination in the food chain to be rapidly identified.
“Agriculture is the foundation
on which the bio-economy is
built. Countries which allow their
agricultural base to deteriorate
over the next 10 years will not
be able to participate in the new
wealth creation.”
Agrifacts: Practical Information for Alberta’s Agriculture Industry. July 2006. Agdex 420/11-1.
an Eenennaam et al, 2010. Value of DNA Information for Beef Bull Selection. 9th World Congress of Genetics Applied to
Livestock Production. Leipzig, Germany.
Alberta Bovine Genomics Program, January 2006 — December 2010
From Research to Ranch
Major Achievement —
Recognized as an International Leader
ABGP Research:
Bovine Genome Sequencing Projects
Several members of the ABGP research team played a leading
International Collaborations and Research
ABGP scientists took on leadership or contributing roles in international collaborations, such as
• Bovine Genome Sequencing Project (see textbox) (multi-national).
• Multiple and Candidate Gene Approaches to Evaluation and Improvement of Economically
Relevant Traits in Cattle (USA, multi-site).
• Genetic Identification Techniques to Improve Food Safety Recall of Ground Meat (Ireland).
• Metabolic Analysis of the Rumen of Steers with Different Feed Efficiencies (USA).
The ABGP recruited scientists from the international pool for its research program. In the opposite
direction, a number of ABGP graduate students and post-doctoral fellows are now pursuing their
careers abroad (see Trained the Next Generation of Scientists and Users).
International Speaking Opportunities and Publications
Over the term of the Program, AGBP scientists published 110 articles in international peer-reviewed
journals and spoke frequently at international meetings. Key invited conference presentations
• 9th World Conference of Genetics Applied to Livestock Production, Leipzig, Germany, August
2010. ABGP scientists amply and impressively represented the ABGP with six presentations:
• Genome-Wide Association Scan for Signals of Recent Selection in Angus Beef Cattle.
• Efficient Nutrient Utilization and Its Relationship with Carcass and Meat Quality Traits—Is
There a Trade Off?
• Beef Tenderness QTL on BTA25 from a Whole Genome Scan with the Illumina Bovine
SNP50 Beadchip.
• Identification of Candidate Markers on BTA14 Affecting Conformation and Functional
Traits in Canadian Holstein.
• Genome-Wide Scan for Positional and Functional Candidate Genes Affecting Milk
Production Traits in Canadian Holstein Cattle.
• Joint Genome-Wide Gametic and Zygotic Linkage Disequilibria Explain the Distinct
Domestication between Dairy and Beef Cattle Populations.
• Joint Canada-Japan Meeting on Prion Disease, Tokyo, Japan, November, 2010.
• 10th Agricultural Biotechnology International Conference, Saskatoon, Canada,
September 2010.
• PrioNet China-Canada Workshop on Prion Disease, Beijing, China, November 2009.
• AgriVision 2009, Noordwijk, Netherlands, June 2009.
role in the Bovine Genome Sequencing Project consortium, an
international initiative to sequence the entire bovine genome.
Among them, Dr. Moore participated on the Steering Committee
and the Scientific Advisory Committee. The ABGP led the
Canadian effort with the Genome Sciences Centre in Vancouver.
The consortium published its findings in two landmark research
papers in the journal Science in 2009. The work secured the
cover image and the headline, Livestock Decoded. These papers
presented the genome structure of (western) cattle and a highdensity SNP survey that uncovered the genetic
structure of the cattle breeds. The Canadian-led
part of the Project produced 10,000 unique fulllength cDNA sequences that were crucial to the
annotation of the genome sequence; and all
library construction and sequencing was carried
out in Canada.
“I am excited about the evolution of genomics.
These new technologies will reduce costs,
increase our competitiveness, enhance meat quality and help
feed the world’s growing population. Canadian producers will achieve
significant improvements in genetic gain, in large part because of
Livestock Gentec’s research to convert the knowledge gained from the
Program into tools we can use to select animals.”
Dr. David Chalack
Partner, RockyMountain Holsteins
Board Chair, Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency
Alberta Bovine Genomics Program, January 2006 — December 2010
From Research to Ranch
Major Achievement —
Delivered Marker Technologies
ABGP Research: The Bov50SNP Chip
The Bov50SNP Chip is a tool for testing genetic merit in cattle
that is widely used in the dairy industry and by commercial
Canadian research under the Bovine Genome Sequencing Project (see International Collaborations)
was key to developing commercially important technologies. Among these were high-density
single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) chips for genome-wide association studies in cattle.
service and industry labs, and academic research labs around
the world.
The ABGP pioneered gene-mapping studies with a 3K chip, then with a 6K chip. A collaborative
effort between the ABGP, the University of Missouri, the United States Department of Agriculture
and Illumina further developed a 50K SNP chip (see textbox).
Next-generation sequencing technologies, very high density SNP panels, the inexpensive 3K chip
and strategies that allow researchers to build high-density genotypes from low-density information
mean that affordable, breed-specific prediction equations are now possible for all cattle breeds.
“Downstream technology directly
resulting from the sequencing of
the bovine genome includes the
development of high density SNP
chips. Dr. Moore’s group pioneered
this work with the development of
a 3K chip with other groups. The
Bov50SNP chip revolutionized
breeding in the dairy industry,
and has had a cumulative annual
benefit of $180M to the Candian
dairy industry.”
“A recent direction taken by
Canadian Dairy Network is the
priority placed on the application of
genomics to increase the accuracy
of the genetic evaluations in dairy
cattle in Canada, starting in 2009.”
Brian Van Doormaal, General Manager,
Canadian Dairy Network, June 2008
Jacques P. Chesnais, Senior Geneticist,
Semex Alliance
Alberta Bovine Genomics Program, January 2006 — December 2010
From Research to Ranch
Major Achievement —
Ensured the Transfer of Technology
ABGP Research:
A Few of the 35 Patent Applications
• Genetic Markers Associated with Improved Milk Production
Traits in Cattle.
Forged Partnerships with Industry
• Associations of SNPs and Haplotypes with Feed Intake and
The ABGP forged close relationships with industry groups and producers along the value chain.
Collaborations made testing across breeds possible and promoted feedback that focused the
relevance of research to industry.
Feed Efficiency in Beef Cattle.
• DNA Polymorphisms as Molecular Markers in Cattle.
• Association of SNPs in the CBRA2T1 and DECR1 Genes with
All projects benefited from significant industry participation. Collaborators included Canadian
Simmental, Limousin, Hereford and Gelbvieh associations, Beefbooster, Beef Improvement
Opportunities, Canadian Dairy Network, L’Alliance Boviteq, Merial, Genus and Identigen (see
Global Partnerships for a complete list).
Performance and Carcass Merit of Beef Cattle.
Evolved into Livestock Gentec and Its Subsidiaries
AGBP evolved into Livestock Gentec—an Alberta Innovates Bio Solutions
Centre that will continue to develop and capitalize on ABGP research
innovations, inform industry of the benefits of genomics and train people to
use the new technologies.
Livestock Gentec established Delta Genomics, a national not-for-profit
company in Edmonton, with support from Western Economic Diversification
Canada. Delta Genomics offers a variety of services to the Albertan and
Canadian livestock industry, as well as to the research community. These
services include sample storage, DNA preparation and distribution, genomic
analysis, data analysis and consultation. The company will also act as Livestock Gentec’s technology
validation and commercialization body, and contribute to the adoption of new technologies.
Converted Research into Patents and Licences for Industry
ABGP work resulted in 33 active patents and 15 invention disclosures, captured in four exclusive
licences with industry partners, including Merial Ltd. (a world-leading animal health company) and
Genoa Biotechnology (a Brazil-based molecular genetics company). See textbox for more details.
The patents were filed in major beef-breeding areas: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Europe,
Mexico, New Zealand and the USA.
The technology provided the basis for the industry-leading Illumina Bov50SNP chip (see textbox
on previous page) used by commercial service labs world-wide (such as DNA Landmarks, GeneSeek
(now Neogen), CynerGene and SABiosciences/Qiagen).
New Zealand
Alberta Bovine Genomics Program, January 2006 — December 2010
From Research to Ranch
Major Achievement
Established Lasting Partnerships
ABGP People:
Links at the Personal Level
The ABGP was fortunate to recruit internationally renowned
experts, such as Heather Burrow (CEO, CRC Beef Australia, and
animal scientist), Chris Warkup (CEO, Biosciences Knowledge
Transfer Network, UK, meat scientist and Coordinator of European
Commission SABRE FP6 project), and John Pollak (Director, USDA
Meat Animal Research Center) to its International Scientific
• Agriculture Funding Consortium
• Alberta Advanced Education
and Technology
• Alberta Agriculture Research Institute
• Alberta Ingenuity Fund
• Alberta Innovates Bio Solutions
• Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency
• Alberta Livestock Industry
Development Fund
• Alberta Prion Research Institute
• Alberta Science and
Research Authority
• Western Economic
Diversification Canada
Advisory Board (see Program Leaders for the full list of
Board members).
• Co-operative Research Centre
for Beef Genetic Technologies
• Genoa Biotecnologia SA
• Genus, plc
• IdentiGEN Ltd.
• Genome Prairie
• Genome British
• PrioNet Canada
• Alberta Beef Producers
• Alberta Cattle Commission
• Beef Cattle Research Council
• Beefbooster Inc.
anada Alberta Beef Industry
Development Fund
• Canadian Cattlemen’s Association
• Genome Alberta
• KTN Biosciences
• Roslin Institute
• BIO—Beef Improvement
• Canadian Dairy Network
• DairyGen Council
• Semex Alliance
• Canada Foundation
for Innovation
• Natural Sciences and
Research Council
• Merial Ltd.
• United States Department
of Agriculture
• L’Alliance Boviteq Inc.
Alberta Bovine Genomics Program, January 2006 — December 2010
From Research to Ranch
Major Achievement —
Attracted High Levels of Funding
The ABGP was extraordinarily successful in attracting funding from federal, provincial and industry
sources and, in addition to the $4.6 million of program funding from ALMA/AI Bio, obtained
research grants that amounted to more than $27 million. Many of those grants were matched with
industry cash and in-kind contributions. See the highlighted projects as examples.
Federal Funding
• Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
• Canada Foundation for Innovation
• Genome Canada
• Natural Sciences and Engineering Research
Council of Canada
• PrioNet Canada
• Western Economic Diversification Canada
Provincial Funding
• Agricultural Adaptation Council
• Agriculture Funding Consortium (Alberta
Innovation and Science/Alberta Livestock
Industry Development Fund)
• Alberta Agricultural Research Institute
• Alberta Ingenuity Fund
• Alberta Innovates Bio Solutions
• Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency
• Alberta Prion Research Institute
• Genome Alberta
• Ontario Ministry of Agriculture,
Food and Rural Affairs
• Ontario Research and Development
Industry Funding
• Alberta Beef Producers
• Alberta Milk
• Beef Cattle Research Council
• Beefbooster Inc.
• Canadian Dairy Network
• DairyGen
• Genoa Biotechnologia SA
• Genus, plc
• L’Alliance Boviteq Inc.
• Merial Ltd.
• Ontario Cattlemen’s Association
• Semex Alliance
Funding: $1,040,000 AAFC/ALMA, $1.2 million industry
Lead Scientists: John Basarab
This project proposes to accelerate the adoption of genetic technology regarding residual feed
intake (RFI) and tenderness in the beef cattle industry by testing 2,000-3,000 animals for RFI,
tenderness and meat quality. The data collected will form one of the largest, upgradable databases
of its kind from which gene marker and expected progeny differences (EPD) validation studies can
be conducted to increase producer-level confidence in genetic improvement through progenytesting in industry populations. Following completion of the dataset, the validation and economic
work can be accomplished. To this end, the University of Alberta and Alberta Agriculture and Rural
Development have entered into an agreement with Merial to validate their commercial and precommercial markers for numerous growth, feed efficiency, and carcass and meat quality traits.
Highlighted Project: Rumen Metagenomics
Funding: $689,000 from ALMA, ALIDF, AARI, Alberta Beef Producers; $140,000 from NSERC
Lead Scientists: Leluo Guan, Stephen Moore, Paul Stothard
This on-going project aims to understand the impact of the interaction between rumen microbes
and the host on feed-efficiency traits in cattle. So far, the research shows that certain species of
bacteria and methanogens are only found in the rumens of feed-efficient cattle, and that these
variations in microbial diversity contribute to higher dietary conversion and lower energy loss from
methane emission. This suggests that rumen bacteria should be taken into account as part of the
biological mechanisms influencing feed efficiency. Further findings suggest that the interaction
between the host genotype and the environment has a strong impact on the relationship between
rumen function and feed efficiency. Functional genomics studies of rumen microbial populations in
beef cattle with different feed efficiencies and genotypes will be a powerful tool for explaining the
molecular mechanisms of these relationships and identifying the microbial and host markers for
feed efficiency under different feeding regimes.
Highlighted Project: Beef Residual Feed Intake and Tenderness
Funding: $483,000 from the Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC); $422,623 from ALMA,
ACAAF, Alberta Beef Producers, BCRC; $431,250 from BCRC, AAFC, Beef Cluster. Also funded
by Ontario Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), Ontario Cattlemen’s
Association, Ontario Research Development, and Agriculture Adaptation Council (Ontario)
Lead Scientists: Stephen Moore, Stephen Miller
Total ALMA/AI Bio Program Funding: $4,634,496
Student and post doc salaries
Other salaries and benefits
Highlighted Project: Phenomic Gap
This was a sequence of projects aiming to establish marker panels for beef cattle that industry
could use as breeding tools. The Illumina bovine 50SNP chip was used to correlate feed efficiency
and tenderness with genetic markers from the University of Guelph breeding herd, the University
of Alberta Kinsella herd, and the Alberta Agriculture Phenomic Gap population. In collaboration
with Beef CRC in Australia and the US Department of Agriculture Meat Animal Research Station,
additional useful SNPs were identified and are being exploited in further, multi-million dollar
national and international Livestock Gentec-led collaborations that will provide the extensive
dataset needed for commercial panels that are applicable to a wide range of breeds.
Alberta Bovine Genomics Program, January 2006 — December 2010
From Research to Ranch
Major Achievement —
Trained the Next Generation
of Scientists and Users
Under the ABGP’s guidance, eight graduate students completed their degrees; 18 post-doctoral
fellows and research associates, and 16 technologists and research assistants obtained training that
prepared them for careers in livestock genomics. These people are pursuing successful careers in
• Industry
• Merial Ltd.
• Pfizer
• Beefbooster, Inc.
• Canadian Hereford Association
• GeneSeek
• Monsanto
• Academia and Research
• University of Alberta School of Medicine, Canada
• Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Canada
• University of Missouri, USA
• Washington State University, USA
• BC Cancer Agency, Canada
• International Livestock Research Institute, Nairobi, Kenya
• Sichuan Agricultural University, China
• National Institute of Agribiological Sciences, Tsukuba, Japan
• Government
• Canadian Food Inspection Agency
Seventeen more ABGP students are working to complete their graduate degrees.
Dr. Elisa Marques
Elisa Marques completed her BSc in Honours Microbiology and PhD in Animal
Genetics from the University of Alberta, where her research focused on
identifying genetic markers for several economically relevant traits in beef and
dairy cattle. After graduation, Marques was awarded the Alberta Ingenuity
scholarship and became an R&D Scientist for Beefbooster, a beef cattle seedstock company in
Calgary, Alberta, where she acquired valuable skills in the application of genomics to improve beef
cattle genetics. Most recently, she became the Market Development Manager for GeneSeek, the
world leader in DNA testing for agrigenomics in Lincoln, Nebraska. In this role, she is responsible
for driving the uptake of genomics technology throughout North and Latin America.
Dr. Denis Fidalis Mujibi
Denis Fidalis Mujibi completed a BSc at Egerton University and a Master’s at
Kenyatta University, both in Kenya. He did the project work for his Master’s at
the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in Kenya, where he became
interested in the work Stephen Moore was doing at the University of Alberta.
Moore agreed to supervise Mujibi for his PhD.
After completing his studies, Mujibi worked for Merial Igenity, a multi-national animal health
company in Duluth, Georgia, where he examined ways of obtaining genomic tools to help
producers better manage, breed and select animals for desired traits. Now back at the ILRI as a
geneticist, Mujibi’s work focuses on improving the characterization of animal genetic resources
and the application of genomic tools to characterize smallholder livestock systems in developing
Dr. Guoqing Tang
Guoqing Tang graduated from the
Sichuan Agricultural University, China,
with a PhD in 2006. He spent 2008-09
at the University of Alberta as a postdoctoral fellow, working under the auspices of the ABGP.
He has since returned to the Sichuan Agricultural
University as Associate Professor of animal genetics and
breeding. His research focuses on quantitative genetics
and statistic genomics in swine science. For example, how
to optimize the relative weight of QTL and polygene in a
mixed model, how to apply genomic selection in swine
breeding, how to optimize some key factors in applying
genomic selection in swine breeding, how to detect
causative mutation of complex traits using genome-wide
markers in swine science, and how to develop evaluation
model of genomic selection in swine breeding.
Alberta Bovine Genomics Program, January 2006 — December 2010
“Livestock genomics is moving
incredibly quickly. The progress
made in the last 12 months would
have been regarded as science
fiction last year… The future
opportunities are immense. We
are committed to the development
and application of genomics in
the bovine industry and I believe
Canada has a fantastic opportunity
to take a world lead for all farmed
Jacques P. Chesnais, Senior Geneticist,
Semex Alliance
From Research to Ranch
The core team consisted of
1. Stephen Moore (Leader, ABGP) University of Alberta
2. Graham Plastow (Director, ABGP), University of Alberta
3. Stephen Miller (animal genetics/genomics, Director of Industry Adoption, Livestock Gentec),
University of Guelph
4. John Basarab (beef genomics), Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development
5. Carolyn Fitzsimmons (molecular genetics), University of Alberta
6. Leluo Guan (functional genomics), University of Alberta
7. Changxi Li (molecular genetics), University of Alberta
8. Paul Stothard (bioinformatics), University of Alberta
9. Zhiquan Wang (quantitative /statistical genetics), University of Alberta
Drs. Wang, Guan and Stothard were recruited in 2006 to assemble a well rounded team to carry
out the ABGP’s objectives. Dr. Plastow joined in 2007, and contributed extensive commercialization
and industry experience as well as scientific expertise in livestock genomics. He succeeded
Dr. Moore as CEO of Livestock Gentec in Fall 2011. Dr. Fitzsimmons joined in 2009, and contributed
additional molecular genetics and expertise in epigenics.
Drs. Guan, Li, Stothard and Wang were the core scientists and devoted 100 percent of their time to
the project.
• Dr. Paul Stothard is developing a world-class bioinformatics infrastructure for the livestock
industries at the University of Alberta. His research focuses on the development of novel
software tools for managing and analyzing biological data, on the characterization of rumen
bacterial DNA sequences and their relationship to feed efficiency, and on the development of
new methods for predicting animal traits.
• Dr. Leluo Guan was a key contributor to the international Bovine Genome Sequencing
Project. Her research in bovine functional genomics involves establishing links between
genomics results and economically important traits in livestock species. She has extensive
experience in developing research approaches to study bovine functional genomics, and an
excellent track record in commercializing research results.
• Dr. Changxi Li’s research activities include identifying and characterizing genes for
economically important traits in beef cattle, and implementing DNA markers in beef cattle
genetic evaluation and breeding programs. His current projects focus on identifying SNP
markers associated with growth, feed efficiency, carcass merit and fatty acid composition in
beef cattle, and using genomics tools to improve beef productivity and quality.
• Dr. Zhiquan Wang is interested in enhancing our understanding of genetic variations in
animal populations and exploiting this to increase the production efficiency and quality of
livestock. His research includes the development of quantitative genetic theories, statistical
methodologies for investigating the associations between genomic and phenotypic variations,
identification and mapping candidate genes and quantitative trait loci (QTL).
International Advisory Board
• Erasmus Okine (Chair), University of Alberta
• John Buckley, Quarter Circle X Ranch, and Chair, Beefbooster, Alberta
• Heather Burrow, CEO, CRC Beef Australia, and animal scientist
• Brett Campbell, Executive Vice President, Canadian Beef Breeds Council
• Cornelia Kreplin, Director, Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development
• Dr. Stephen Miller, Director, Centre for the Genetic Improvement of Livestock,
University of Guelph
• Stephen Morgan-Jones, Director General, Science Partnerships Directorate,
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
• Diane Panrucker, Alberta Beef Producers
• John Pollak, Director, USDA Meat Animal Research Center
• Julie Stitt, Industry Liaison, FoodLogiQ, Canada (representing Canadian Beef Breeds Council)
• Chris Warkup, CEO, Genesis Faraday Partnership, UK, meat scientist and Coordinator,
EU SABRE FP6 project
Alberta Bovine Genomics Program, January 2006 — December 2010
From Research to Ranch
A Look Forward:
Message from Livestock Gentec’s CEO
As I write, the Alberta Innovates Livestock Gentec centre is rounding out its second year of
operation. As the ABGP’s natural successor, “Gentec” has made fast progress thanks to the ABGP’s
strong research base and record of success. In addition to Alberta Innovates funding and with
continued support for key positions from the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency (ALMA), Alberta
Agriculture and Rural Development, and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, we have grown
Gentec’s knowledge translation and technology transfer capacity.
As Gentec enters its third year, we see continued success on the research front, exemplified by
winning two important Genome Canada grants. With additional support from ALMA, other
partners and industry, these grants represent more than $20 million of funding for applied
research in the livestock sector in Canada. The projects supported by these grants allow Gentec to
take a leading role in collaborations with partners from US, Europe and Australasia.
With these elements in place, Gentec is an exciting place to be as we work to develop tools
that will help Canada’s livestock industries remain competitive and well placed to help feed the
world’s growing population and its increasing demand for the healthiest and highest-quality
meat products. We could not have done this without the catalyst provided by the ABGP, and the
collaborations and networks put together by Dr. Stephen Moore and the senior research team.
Dr. Graham Plastow
CEO, Livestock Gentec
Alberta Bovine Genomics Program, January 2006 — December 2010
Livestock Gentec
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8215 112 Street
Edmonton, AB T6G 2C8
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