The biggest-ever European animal breeding project has been inaugurated
in Edinburgh this autumn to harness the power of cutting-edge genetic
sciences to develop more economically and environmentally sustainable
production systems for cattle, pigs and chickens.
Officially launching the €23 million, four-year pan-European
Sustainable Animal Breeding (SABRE) project at the Third Genesis
Faraday Annual Event this month (September), Laurent Bochereau
of the European Commission and Tom Tumilty of the Scottish Executive
stressed its importance as a genuinely world-leading initiative
in one of the most exciting fields of modern science.
“SABRE brings together 200 scientists in 33 organisations
and businesses from 14 countries to develop a range of innovative
breeding strategies to improve animal health and welfare, reduce
chemical and energy inputs, minimise livestock waste and pollution,
and maximise food safety and quality,” explained Mr Tumilty. “It
is a stunning example of best practice in research organisations
and industry working in a well-focused and highly co-ordinated
“One of the large integrated projects made possible by Framework
6, SABRE is mobilising research across the EU to apply the cutting
edge sciences of genomics and epigenetics to important current
and future livestock production challenges,” Mr Bochereau
added. “We see it playing a major role in ensuring Europe
remains at the forefront of the fast-developing and competitive
world of modern animal breeding which promises such benefits for
Led by the Roslin-based Genesis Faraday Partnership and involving
no less than seven UK partners, the SABRE work programme will focus
on a series of inter-locking basic and applied research programmes.
The mammary gland, the digestive system and fertility will be
the focus of separate basic research packages, with more applied
research targeted at enhancing eggshell quality for food safety;
improving animal behaviour linked to welfare; and eliminating boar
taint in pig meat.
As well as pioneering new breeding strategies in these and other
areas, the project will develop practical tools to enable these
strategies to be applied in European farming practice and take
the lead in encouraging their widespread application through an
extensive knowledge transfer programme.
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