Growth & Development Symposium
By Anne Zinn
On the morning of Wednesday, July 22, 2020, presenters and viewers gathered virtually for the Growth & Development Symposium as part of the ASAS-CSAS-WSASAS Virtual Annual Meeting. The session began with the presentation of the Animal Growth & Development Award, awarded to Luis Tedeschi (Texas A&M University), who then presented on how retained energy and protein affects the determination of energy and protein requirements for growth. To follow, Joaquinn Casellas, Associate Professor at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, discussed paternity testing through low-coverage whole-genome sequencing in local (Spain) livestock breeds in order to reduce economic cost within current European regulations for autochthonous livestock breeds. Then, Manuel Juarez, Livestock Phenomics Scientist at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, presented on the possibility and necessity of enhancing the nutritional value of red meat through genetic and feeding strategies. Juarez explained the various ways that nutrient composition of meat can be influenced and how the fields of phenomics, nutrigenomics, integrative diet-host-microbiome, and systems biology may bring further insight to better understand the manipulation of red meat composition under both experimental and commercial conditions.
After a short break, the session started again with the presentation of the Early Career Achievement Award, awarded to Angela Canovas of the University of Guelph. Canovas then presented the results of a recent study exploring the identification of novel haplotypes and recessive lethal alleles affecting embryonic development processes, gestation losses, and post-nasal lethality in cattle. Canovas explained that the results may be helpful in precisely targeting genomic regions associated with fertility, embryonic development processes, gestation losses and post-natal lethality in cattle. To follow, Fabrizio Ceciliani of the Università degli Studi di Milano shared recent results of an ongoing study aiming to determine the untargeted lipidome of cow milk during subclinical non-aureus staphylococcal mastitis. Dairy cow mastitis severely impacts the dairy industry by reducing milk yield and quality and increasing culling rate. Ceciliani explained that the results demonstrate the significant influence of non-aureus staphylococcal on the milk lipidome, contribute to the understanding of inflammatory processes in the bovine udder, and highlight potential novel biomarkers for improving mastitis diagnosis.
To conclude the symposium, Marina Fortes (The University of Queensland, Saint Lucia) proposed a combination of heritable fertility traits for bull selection using results of a recent study that suggest bull fertility traits do in fact have a heritable component making selective breeding possible. Fortes explained that based on her results, it is possible to improve bull fertility through selective breeding, by measuring complementary fertility traits. More work and research is required to determine best practices and accuracy.
The full recording of the Growth & Development Symposium will be available on the ASAS-CSAS-WSASAS Virtual Annual Meeting website.