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Canada Invests $1M in Ontario Cattle Genomics Effort

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The Canadian government has awarded C$1.1 million (US$1 million) in new funding to support cattle genomics research projects in Ontario aimed at making the province's beef industry more efficient and competitive.

Parliamentary Secretary Pierre Lemieux said yesterday that the government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper has invested up to C$827,050 to support a producer cooperative called Beef Improvement Opportunities and up to C$264,110 to support the Ontario Cattlemen's Association.

Lemieux said the funding "will allow Canada's beef producers to gain better access to genomics tools for breeding and selection that can help them lower their costs of production and raise healthier, disease-resistant animals."

BIO will use the investment to conduct three projects, including efforts to better understand and use genetic evaluations, improve genetic selection in beef and sheep using economic indicators and market trends, and study genetic traits to identify markers that can be used to improve carcass value and quality.

The funding to the OCA will support a project to improve feed efficiency based on a comprehensive analysis of liver function, which could help determine the relationship between feed efficiency and performance parameters such as fertility and weight.

The government awarded the funding under the Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program, a five-year effort to help improve the agricultural sector by pursuing new opportunities and responding to emerging challenge.

"Genomics is the turbocharger to genetic improvement programs in the beef industry and this CAAP funding allowed BIO to help producers build the all-important reference database, while also giving back information right away on two of the most important traits in beef production: feed efficiency and tenderness," BIO VP Dave Milliner said in a statement.