Research agreement set to improve livestock and aquaculture breeding

The University of Edinburgh’s Roslin Institute and Hendrix Genetics have collaborated to create a research alliance designed to improve the sustainability of animal production. 

The programme will see an emphasis on driving innovations that ultimately lead to greater disease resistance in farmed animals – both on land and sea – and better selective breeding systems. The aim is to reduce losses and improve welfare in the livestock and fish farming industries.

This partnership will build on the already existing collaboration in salmon disease genetics between the two organisations, which sees the Roslin Institute working closely with salmon breeding company Landcatch – a Hendrix Genetics company based in Argyll, Scotland.

Research has already discovered a gene that makes salmon more resilient to a viral disease, as well as resulting in the development of genetic tools that have improved selective breeding for resistance to sea lice.

The strategic partnership between the institutes will explore precision breeding technology in pigs, chickens and turkeys, as well as in aquaculture.

“This partnership with Roslin – a world-leading research institute – offers a unique opportunity to improve our breeding programs through applied research projects using the latest genomic technology,” said Dr Johan van Arendonk, chief innovation and technology officer at Hendrix Genetics.

Meanwhile, Dr Ross Houston, a group leader in aquaculture genetics at Roslin, said this partnership would help to open opportunities in the future: “This is an exciting development which will allow us to build on past successes with Hendrix Genetics Aquaculture, and facilitate new projects to improve disease resistance in salmon and other species through selective breeding.”

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