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SABRE foresees more cutting edge livestock research

The final report has been published on an EU-funded project on the application of genomics in the sustainable production of cattle, pigs and poultry.

The SABRE (Sustainable Animal Breeding) project was a 4.5-year, €23 million initiative supported through a grant from the EU Sixth Framework Programme which ran from April 2006 to September 2010. Its final report appears on the website of the University of Wageningen, the Netherlands, one of 36 organisations from across Europe, Brazil, China and Israel involved in the project.

The report describes the studies carried out by more than 200 scientists in 12 research, development and communications projects. Together they demonstrate the value of emerging genomic and epigenetic science to generate new information and apply it in practical breeding improvement strategies throughout Europe, the report states.

For example, the research has already led to successful breeding programmes to eliminate “boar-taint” in meat from entire male pigs. By removing the need to castrate male piglets the project has produced both animal welfare and economic sustainability benefits, it notes.

“It is clear that numerous benefits exceeding those initially expected have been achieved. New research opportunities and approaches, personal skills, novel investment opportunities and diverse partnerships have been gained by a range of individuals and organisations,” it says.

“All have helped to forge linkages which will allow further cutting edge research beyond the lifespan of SABRE.”