Featured Articles

  • Sep
    19
    New JAS section titles


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    Sept. 19, 2016 – The Journal of Animal Science has expanded its list of section titles. The publication now offers 40 section titles for authors to choose from when submitting papers to JAS. Dr. Jim Sartin, JAS Editor-in-Chief, says the new section titles increase the choices available to authors and allow them to be more specific when choosing a section that represents their papers. Following is the complete list of section titles for JAS. Section titles will run on an as-needed basis within the table of contents. More information can be found in the Instructions for Authors.

     


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  • Sep
    15
    ASAS announces release of AG Guide agreement


    Sept. 15, 2016 – The following article is an ASAS press release regarding establishment of a joint committee to administer the AG Guide.

    Champaign, Ill. (September 15, 2016) — The American Society of Animal Science is pleased to announce the creation of a joint committee to administer the “AG Guide” (known as the Guide for the Care and Use of Agricultural Animals in Research and Teaching).

    The joint committee consists of representatives from the American Dairy Science Association® (ADSA), the American Society of Animal Science (ASAS), and the Poultry Science Association (PSA). The committee is known as the ADSA/ASAS/PSA Animal Care Committee (the “ACC”).

    The ACC’s primary responsibility is to ensure that the AG Guide remains current, viable and recognized as the standard reference for the care of agricultural animals in research and teaching. The ACC will work collectively to identify needed revisions to the AG Guide.


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  • Sep
    15
    Deep discount on lactation pre-conference registration


    Sept. 15, 2016 – ASAS is pleased to announce that the Triennial Lactation Symposium and Biology of Lactation of Farm Animals (BOLFA) will occur at the front end of the 2017 ASAS-CSAS Annual Meeting and Trade Show. Triennial Lactation/BOLFA will occur as a pre-conference on July 8, 2017. The speaker line up is one of the most impressive in BOLFA history.

    Currently, meeting registration is reduced to an all-time low, if you register by September 19, 2016. To encourage preregistration for BOLFA, we are cutting registration in half if you register in conjunction with the early meeting registration.

    Register for BOLFA and the Annual Meeting by September 19, 2016 and the cost for both is only $355! Enter Promo Code AS17BOLFA to receive your discount.*


     


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  • Sep
    12
    ASAS sponsors presentation by Christian Maltecca at EAAP


    By Dr. Deb Hamernik, ASAS President

    Sept. 12, 2016 – Dr. Christian Maltecca gave an invited presentation, “The important and often forgotten role of managing genetic diversity” at the 67th Annual Meeting of the European Federation of Animal Science (EAAP) in Belfast, Ireland on August 29 – September 2, 2016. More than 1,500 people attended the EAAP annual meeting.

    Dr. Maltecca is interested in improving economically relevant traits in dairy cattle through the use of quantitative and molecular methods. Use of genomic markers in animal breeding is an active area of research. Genomic markers have been incorporated in selection decisions as a tool to control inbreeding in many species, including dairy cattle. Additional research is needed to identify the optimal way to use genomic markers to select genetically superior animals and manage the genome of a specific population of animals that is being selected for complex quantitative and/or fitness traits such as pounds of milk or meat and/or number of progeny, respectively.

    Dr. Maltecca’s presentation focused on the three pillars of managing genetic diversity, including: 1) understanding the basis and consequences of genetic diversity, 2) managing the population by controlling its effective size, and 3) optimizing genetic variability through specific mating plans. Dr. Maltecca’s team conducted simulation studies with their recently developed Geno-Driver tool that allows for a wide range of selection strategies to be evaluated in the presence of a fitness trait. A run of homozygosity (ROH) is an alternative metric that characterizes long stretches of inbreeding. Some regions of the genome have a high frequency of ROH and these are linked to a reduction in genetic diversity as well as negative effects on fitness traits. Crossbred animals have persistent stretches of shared haplotypes that can be identified based on long (>5Mb) ROH.


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  • Sep
    12
    Don't delay!


    Sept. 12, 2016 – Deadlines for submitting abstracts for two upcoming sectional meetings will be here before you know it!

    Submit abstracts for the 2017 Southern Section Meeting. Deadline to submit an abstract for this meeting is October 1, 2016, at 11:59 pm CST.

    Submit abstracts for the 2017 Midwest Meeting. Deadline to submit an abstract for this meeting is October 26, 2016, at 11:59 pm CST.

    The annual meeting of the Southern Section, ASAS will be held in Franklin, Tenn., February 4-7, 2017.


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  • Sep
    12
    ASAS sponsors presentation by John McEwan at EAAP Annual Meeting


    By Deb Hamernik, ASAS President

    Sept. 12, 2016 – Dr. John McEwan gave an invited presentation, “Genomic selection in sheep: where to now?” at the 67th Annual Meeting of the European Federation of Animal Science (EAAP) in Belfast, Ireland, held August 29 – September 2, 2016. More than 1,500 people attended the EAAP annual meeting.

    Dr. McEwan has made significant contributions to the international effort to sequence the genomes of cattle and sheep for more than a decade. He also provided leadership for creating high and low density sheep SNP chips (e.g., the 5K, 6K, 15K, 50K, and 600K SNP chips). The sheep industry in New Zealand has been using these SNP chips to allow faster genetic improvement (with improved accuracy) in sheep via whole genome selection since about 2010.

    In New Zealand, a monthly across flock and breed national genomic evaluation for more than 20 traits in selected maternal breeds and crosses was implemented. A similar development program is underway in terminal breeds and includes meat-quality traits. McEwan stated that many new technologies are being developed to enhance genomic selection in the future. Precision phenotyping produces a large amount of phenotypic data and offers many potential benefits. For example, scientists would like to collect data on a number of traits associated with fertility, but in natural sheep production situations it is not usually possible for humans to be present and collect data when traits such as estrus, mating, or lambing occur. Scientists are now developing fitbit-like sensors on ear tags that will record and transmit this information to a centralized database.


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  • Sep
    08
    Two internship opportunities


    Sept. 8, 2016 – Students: Expand your horizons with these 2017 ASAS internship programs:

    Science Writing Summer Internship  Applications due October 15!

    Science Policy Summer Internship in Washington, D.C.  Applications due October 21!


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  • Sep
    08
    Join us for next Snack & Fact


    Save the date! The next ASAS-sponsored Snack & Fact informational briefing is at noon (EST) on Mon., Sept. 26, in H-122 of the U.S. Capitol Building. If you will be in Washington D.C., please make plans to join us. The hour-long briefing focuses on content from the July 2016 issue of Animal Frontiers, entitled “Gut Microbiota, Diet, and Health: Application to Livestock and Companion Animals.” A light lunch will be provided.

    The goal of the Snack & Fact briefing is to provide valuable information for attendees, many of whom are congressional staffers, on the importance of the gastrointestinal microbiota for livestock, companion animals, and humans. Guest speakers will review agricultural, environmental, and biomedical issues related to the microbiome.

    The schedule is as follows:

    12:00-12:10 PM – Introduction and Goals – Teresa Davis, ASAS Public Policy Committee


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  • Sep
    08
    ASAS represented at EAAP


    By Dr. Deb Hamernik, ASAS President

    Sept. 8, 2016 – Dr. Max Rothschild gave an invited presentation, “This little piggy went to market: applications of genomics to improved health for sustainable pig production,” at the 67th Annual Meeting of the European Federation of Animal Science (EAAP) in Belfast, Ireland, held August 29 – September 2, 2016. More than 1,500 people attended the EAAP meeting.

    Rothschild introduced the topic of his presentation with evidence that livestock losses due to disease, reduced productivity, and increased health costs exceed $2 billion annually in the US and $20 billion worldwide. The major viral diseases that recently have had negative impacts on pork production are PRRS, PCV2, and PEDV. In most management systems, biosecurity, sanitation, vaccination, pharmaceuticals, and antibiotics are used to control infectious diseases but genetic resistance should be considered.

    A draft swine genome sequence was published in 2012 and subsequent genome-based technologies have been developed in recent years that now allow scientists to apply state-of-the-art genetics and genomics tools to better understand why some pigs are generally healthier, less susceptible to disease, and in some cases resistant to diseases. For example, evidence of genetic resistance to the PCV2 virus has been localized to a region on chromosome 7 and another region on chromosome 12. These genomic regions account for about 15% of the genetic variation associated with viral load and 15% of the genetic variation associated with decreased growth rate in PCV2 infected pigs. Candidate genes that may be responsible for regulating the immune system and growth rate are within these regions of DNA. Future approaches to combating viral diseases in pigs may include genetic/genomic selection, genotype-dependent therapies, vaccinations, or the recently developed technology of genome editing. Any combination of these approaches will contribute to sustainable pork production systems in the US and throughout the world.


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  • Sep
    08
    ASAS sponsors presentation by Tim Searchinger at EAAP annual meeting


    By Dr. Deb Hamernik, ASAS President

    Sept. 8, 2016 – Dr. Tim Searchinger gave an invited presentation, “Livestock, land use, global change and food security” at the 67th Annual Meeting of the European Federation of Animal Science (EAAP) in Belfast, Ireland on August 29 – September 2, 2016. More than 1,500 people attended the EAAP annual meeting.

    Searchinger and colleagues recently evaluated several models for estimating greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture, bioenergy (e.g., ethanol from corn or wheat), and changes in land use (Science 347:1420-1422).
    If all of the world’s harvested biomass were used for bioenergy, this would only provide 20% of the world’s expected need for energy in 2050. Although efficiencies in the production of animal-sourced foods are usually driven by economics, Searchinger suggests that environmental factors must also be considered. The increasing global population and increased demand for animal-sourced foods are one of the main drivers of increased global greenhouse gas emissions. Improving the efficiency of livestock production around the world is vitally important to reducing global greenhouse gas emissions. Improved feed quality, changing the nutrient composition of diets, and better grazing practices will be especially important in meeting global targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

    For example, in some countries (e.g., India and Africa) dairy production contributes about five times more greenhouse gas emissions per liter of milk compared to other countries such as the United States in which dairy production is more efficient. New tools are needed that evaluate the efficiency of livestock production at various levels—farm, region, nation, and planet. Searchinger recommended that countries that are not efficient at producing animal-sourced foods should limit their consumption of beef and mutton. He even suggested that the fate of the world depends on developing more efficient beef and sheep production systems that will also use natural resources more efficiently.


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  • Sep
    08
    Apply for science writing internship


    Sept. 8, 2016 – ASAS is now accepting applications for its 2017 Science Communications Summer Internship. Applications are due Oct. 15, 2016.


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  • Sep
    08
    We need your ideas for Jr. Animal Scientist


    Sept. 8, 2016 – Help ASAS put animal science information in the hands of kids across the country. Give us your ideas for the 2017 issues of Jr. Animal Scientist! 

    Would you be willing to serve as an expert on a particular topic? How about helping us out by recruiting a group of undergraduate or graduate students to write content for the magazine?

    Jr. Animal Scientist is published in January, March, May, July, September, and November. Individual, family, and school or group subscriptions are available. The magazine features articles about animal science concepts, interesting careers, and fun activities for kids. Subscribers also receive a monthly e-mail newsletter to supplement information found in the magazine, as well as access to exclusive content at AnimalSmart.org.

    Interested in sponsoring a subscription for a classroom in your community? Learn more about classroom sponsorship in this Taking Stock article.


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  • Sep
    01
    Sponsor a Jr. Animal Scientist classroom


    Sept. 1, 2016 – Give the gift of a Jr. Animal Scientist subscription to an elementary school classroom or group in your area! The cost is only $5 per student! Each student will receive a copy of the Jr. Animal Scientist magazine, which is published in January, March, May, July, September, and November.  


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  • Sep
    01
    New USDA app protects cattle from heat stress


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    By Jan Suszkiw, Agricultural Research Service, USDA

    USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) has launched a new smartphone application (“app”) that forecasts conditions triggering heat stress in cattle. The app is available at both Google Play and the App Store.

    Compatible with Android and Apple mobile phone, the app issues forecasts one to seven days in advance of extreme heat conditions, along with recommended actions that can protect animals before and during a heat-stress event.

    In some cattle, distress and discomfort from prolonged exposure to extreme heat cause diminished appetite, reduced growth or weight gain, greater susceptibility to disease and, in some cases, even death. Cattle housed in confined feedlot pens are especially vulnerable to heat-stress events, notes Tami Brown-Brandl, an ARS agricultural engineer at the Roman L. Hruska U.S. Meat Animal Research Center (USMARC) in Clay Center, Nebraska.


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  • Sep
    01
    Call for platform speakers for 2017 annual meeting


    Sept. 1, 2016 – The 2017 ASAS-CSAS Annual Meeting and Trade Show Overall Program Committee is looking for submissions from both committees and the general membership for platform speakers. Submit your suggestions by September 28, 2016.

    As our society enters into a new era of opportunities, the 2017 program committee will build upon our recent successes and continue to revitalize our annual meeting. In 2017, the annual meeting program will offer symposia that feature current issues, technologies and scientific discoveries under the umbrella of global food security.

    To further expose membership to leading scientists and unify short presentations within a topic, platform speakers will be introduced as anchors to existing sessions. This subtle change allows for the incorporation of greater numbers of talented speakers into the program by removing structured programmatic barriers.

    ASAS and CSAS are looking to refocus on 12-minute talks by reducing the number of symposia and adding 45-minute talks to the beginning of general sessions.


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  • Sep
    01
    Call for abstracts for 2017 Midwest Meeting


    The annual meeting of the Midwestern Section ASAS and Midwest Branch ADSA® will be held in Omaha, NE, on March 13-15, 2017. Members are encouraged to submit abstracts of papers for oral or poster presentation. The deadline to submit an abstract for this meeting is October 26, 2016, at 11:59 pm CST.

    Abstracts not meeting this deadline will be rejected. All abstracts must be submitted electronically. Other criteria for acceptance or rejection will include those outlined in the “Instructions for Abstract Submission,” which may be found on the Abstract Submission site: https://asas.confex.com/asas/mw17/cfp.cgi

    Due to space restrictions, submissions are limited. Space limitations allow a maximum of 400 words, not including title, authors and institutions. Abstracts that are too long will be rejected automatically by the system. It is recommended that all abstract components (title, body, and table) be copied directly from a word processing file. The formatting and special characters will carry over directly into the abstract system.

    Abstracts can be submitted for oral presentations, poster presentations, the Graduate Student Competition (oral and poster), or the Undergraduate Research Abstract Competition (oral or poster). Learn more about types of abstracts in the Instructions for Abstract Submission on the Midwest website.


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  • Sep
    01
    D.C. interns wanted for 2017


    ASAS is now accepting applications for its 2017 Science Policy Summer Internship Program. Applications are due Friday, October 21, 2016.  

    The main purpose of this internship is to provide experience for undergraduates or graduate students in legislative, regulatory, or administrative science policy activities in Washington, D.C. related to animal science or the production of animal-sourced foods.

    At the date of application, students must be enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program closely related to animal science (e.g., agricultural economics, agricultural business, food science/products, environment) in an accredited college or university in the United States.

    Students will be awarded $3,500 (payable at the start of the internship). The term of the internship is 60-90 days during the academic summer session in 2017.


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  • Sep
    01
    2017 Annual Meeting - Register now and save


    Sept. 1, 2016 – Join us for the 2017 ASAS-CSAS Annual Meeting and Trade Show in Baltimore, Maryland from July 8 to 12, 2017. Special pricing now available!


    Register today to take advantage of the limited time offer of a $300* registration fee for both Professional members and nonmembers by using the Promotional Code AS17Pre online. Available through September 19, 2016.

    As many of you are aware, this is the inaugural year of the ASAS-CSAS Annual Meeting and Trade Show. Therefore, we have three main goals for the 2017 meeting:

    View the meeting registration brochure for full meeting details.


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  • Aug
    29
    Highlights of science communication symposium


    By Tameka Phillips, ASAS Public Policy Committee

    August 29, 2016 – As animal scientists we put a lot of time and energy into our research, teaching, and business obligations. For many, we are considered the experts in the field of animal science. So, when it comes to informing the public, we as animal scientists want our imparted information to be understood. The Contemporary and Emerging Issues Symposium: Communicating Animal Sciences Effectively was an avenue to learn about effective science communication. Sponsored by Elanco Animal Health, the symposium was held last month during the ASAS-ADSA®-CSAS-WSASAS Joint Annual Meeting in Salt Lake City. It was co-chaired by incoming ASAS President Deb Hamernik, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and incoming ASAS Director-At-Large Kristen Johnson, Washington State University.

    Four invited speakers well-versed in science communication spoke to ASAS annual meeting participants, discussing a range of topics from statistically driven data to their own personal communication experiences.

    Due to the large participant presence at this symposium, the interest in communicating animal science effectively can only grow and create more dialogue in the future.


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  • Aug
    29
    New report on impact of investing in ag research and extension


    By ASAS Public Policy Committee

    August 29, 2016 – A new report, “New Insights on the Impacts of Public Agricultural Research and Extension,” discusses the importance of public investment in agricultural research and extension activities. While the U.S. has been a leader in science-based increases in agricultural productivity for most of the 20th century, growth in public funding for agricultural research declined by 20% from 1995-1998, rebounded slightly through 2006, and then further declined during the economic recession since 2009. In contrast, Brazil and China have been investing heavily in agricultural research.

    The USDA’s Current Research Information System (CRIS) maintains an archive of data from research projects funded by the USDA. In 1970, about 70% of the U.S. total expenditures on agricultural research were on research that addressed agricultural productivity (e.g., production of crops and livestock with increased efficiency and lowered costs; protection of crops and livestock from diseases or pests; etc.) and 30% of public funding supported other types of research (e.g., rural development, agricultural marketing, conservation of natural resources, forestry, wildlife, etc.). Since 1970, the relative amount of public funding on agricultural productivity-oriented research in the U.S. has been declining.

    It takes time for society to realize the impact of investing in research. For example, it has been estimated that at least 9 years are required to see an impact of agricultural research followed by another 6 years of receiving high and constant benefits from agricultural research and then another 20 years for the impacts of agricultural research to decline or become obsolete. In contrast, about half of the impacts of extension are realized within one year after delivery of extension programs, because extension programs are designed to influence current decision-making processes.


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