Salmon disease success prompts research expansion into pigs and poultry

The global animal breeding company, Hendrix Genetics, has established a research agreement with the University of Edinburgh’s Roslin Institute to pursue improvements in the sustainability of animal production.

Hendrix and Roslin already have a strong research relationship concerning farm salmon disease genetics and see the new agreement as an opportunity to collaborate on breeding developments with other livestock species, including pigs and poultry.

“The new partnership with Roslin is a unique opportunity to improve our breeding programmes through applied research projects, using the latest genomic technology,” said Hendrix Genetics’ chief innovation and technology officer, Dr Johan van Arendonk.

Roslin Institute’s deputy director, Professor Bruce Whitelaw, agreed, adding: “We are excited about building on our long-term relationship with Landcatch (Hendrix-owned Scottish salmon breeder), working together across a number of other commercial species.”

The existing collaboration on salmon, which has been running for several years, has already yielded the discovery of a gene that makes salmon more resilient to a viral disease. This has led, in turn, to the development of genetic tools that have improved the selective breeding of salmon with resistance to sea lice, which is a particularly significant problem for fish farmers.

The new agreement is designed to enable the two partners to strengthen and extend their relationship, specifically to explore precision breeding technology, not only in aquaculture, but also in pig, chicken and turkey breeding.

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