SYDNEY: Australian scientists have begun work on a A$15 million (US$8.1 million) project to track down the gene that produces the meatiest lamb chops.

The sheep genomics project, which will study what sheep genes do and identify gene markers for desired characteristics, will also have the potential to identify parasite-resistant sheep, better disease tests and controls and deliver meatier lambs.

Funded by A$3 million a year in producer levies and matching federal government money, the five-year project is expected to produce the first full map of the sheep genome.

“The potential return to industry from basic research in this area of functional genomics is enormous,” Meat & Livestock Australia’s southern production research manager Hutton Oddy said in a statement.

The project will search for genes that determine muscle traits, meat quality and resistance to parasites and disease. It will also work on reproductive technologies to improve lamb survival and weaning percentages, Oddy said.

Intestinal parasites alone cost the Australian sheep industry more than A$300 million a year in chemical treatments and lost production. This was predicted to grow to A$1 billion by 2010, he said.

“The savings from the ability to identify sheep with parasite-resistant genes alone is huge,” he said.

The project will bring together scientists from different fields, including geneticists, cell biologists, animal physiologists, veterinarians and others.

It would also draw on research already underway in sheep functional genomics in New Zealand, the United States and the European Union, MLA said.—Reuters

More From This Section

Watching Modi, the maestro, at work

It's the view of many Indians that Modi is playing the role of BJP superego as the party’s RSS id boils away underneath.

Why do so many people die in ferry accidents?

Ferries in developing countries are often old vessels, sometimes operating in waterways for which they weren’t designed.

Women edge into Gulf boardrooms as societies shift

DUBAI: Amina al-Rustamani, a member of a prominent UAE family, raised eyebrows among friends and relatives when she...

Gabriel Garcia Marquez: An influence ‘all over the planet’

Far beyond wider Hispanic world, Marquez’s influence is felt by and plays out in work of authors all over the planet.


Comments are closed.
Explore: Indian elections 2014
Explore: Indian elections 2014
How much do you know about Indian Elections?
How much do you know about Indian Elections?
Cartoons
E-PAPER
Front Page