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The perspectives for feed efficient animal production

Modern animal breeding programs are largely based on biotechnological procedures, including artificial insemination (AI) and embryo transfer (ET) technology. Recent breakthroughs in reproductive technologies, such as somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) and in vitro embryo production, and their combination with the emerging molecular genetic tools, will further advance progress and provide new opportunities for livestock breeding. This is urgently needed in light of the global challenges such as the ever increasing human population, the limited resources in arable land and the urging environmental problems associated with farm animal production. Here, we focus on genomic breeding strategies and transgenic approaches for making farm animals more feed efficient. Based on studies in the mouse and rat model, we have identified a panel of genes that is critically involved in the regulation of feed uptake and could contribute towards future breeding of farm animals with reduced environmental impact. We anticipate that genetically modified animals will play a significant role in shaping the future of a feed efficient and thus sustainable animal production, but will develop more slowly than the biomedical applications, due to the complexity of the regulation of feed intake and metabolism



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