Featured Articles

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    Dec
    21
    Upcoming IACUC programming from PRIM&R


    December 21, 2015 – The Public Responsibility in Medicine and Research (PRIM&R) announces two upcoming educational programs for institutional animal care and use committee (IACUC) professionals: a webinar on grant and protocol congruency for IACUCs in January, and the annual IACUC Conference in April.

    PRIM&R’s 2016 IACUC Conference (IACUC16) takes place April 1-2, (pre-conference programs on March 30) in Bellevue, Wash. The event provides a forum for attendees to exchange ideas, discuss best practices, and grapple with the complex ethical issues raised by research with animals. The IACUC16 will be held in conjunction with the Northwest Association for Biomedical Research (NWABR) 2016 Regional IACUC Conference, which will take place on March 31, with a pre-conference site visit program on March 30. More information about these events is available on the conference website.

    Attendees can register for one or multiple events at one time, and PRIM&R and NWABR members will receive a discounted rate on these offerings.

    Conference schedule highlights include plenary sessions, workshops, and networking events on topics ranging from animal well-being and the three R’s, protocol review, IACUC administration, program management, and wildlife and field studies.


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    Dec
    17
    Donate to the ASAS Foundation


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    December 17, 2015 – An ASAS Foundation gift can have a lifetime impact. Most gifts to the ASAS Foundation are to one of our many Appreciation Clubs – these Clubs are set up to honor and pay tribute to animal scientists who have made great impacts throughout their careers. The clubs serve double duty, first to honor and remind us of their namesakes and second to provide funds to directly support ASAS members! Visit the ASAS Foundation website to learn about all the clubs.

    Today the Foundation is actively fundraising for the following clubs:

    The ASAS Foundation has many ways to give and throughout the course of a year, providing over $100,000 in direct support back to members of the American Society of Animal Science. The ASAS Foundation ensures student travel, internships, international engagement, publication, awards, and the highest quality scientific programming.


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    Dec
    17
    Need examples of genetics?


    By Dr. Harold Hafs

    December 17, 2015 – The Animal Science Image Gallery includes several collections of images created by Ann Dunnington and Paul Siegel, mostly PowerPoint presentations that teach principals of genetics using meat-type chickens as a model.

    For example, ASIG #4392 (shown here) and #5206 illustrate selection for growth up to 54 generations. The birds were selected on the basis of body weight at 8 weeks of age, both for small and large size, for comparison with a control unselected population looking for long-term trends over the duration of the experiment. In addition to body weight, several other characteristics were recorded, including age at sexual maturity, feed consumption, and egg weight, in an effort to uncover correlated responses. Each of these files include the logic for the trial, and details for the experimental design, results, analyses, discussion, summary and conclusions as if the reader is a partner in the trial. At each stage of this research, readers are asked questions and led through discussions to aid understanding the research.

    In ASIG #5207, Dunnington and Siegel assembled PowerPoint presentations to illustrate the outcomes when selection for body weight was relaxed at intervals during the 54-week selection experiment. The results relate the association between natural selection and artificial selection. Differences in vocalization in chickens selected for low or high body weight at 8 weeks of age is an interesting correlated response outlined in ASIG #5203.


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    Dec
    17
    New opportunities from FFAR


    December 17, 2015 – Calling food and agriculture experts and early-career faculty members! The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) is now accepting nominations for the Foundation’s first Advisory Councils and its New Innovator in Food and Agriculture Research Award.

    United States institutions of higher education are invited to nominate one outstanding individual to apply for the inaugural New Innovator in Food and Agriculture Research Award. The award is designed to support and inspire the next generation of food and agriculture scientists by funding creative individuals as they embark on their careers in food and agriculture. Nominations are due January 20, 2016.

    The New Innovator in Food and Agriculture Research Award is designed to support, through grants of up to $200,000 per year over three years, standout food and agriculture scientists within the first three years of their tenure-track or equivalent career. Selected New Innovators will be creative individuals whose innovative ideas have the potential to propel a specific area of food and agriculture science forward. The nominee need not be affiliated with a traditional agricultural school or department and in fact, we encourage institutions to nominate scientists with degrees in outside-the-box disciplines that one might not immediately associate with food and agriculture.

    Nomination Requirements:
    Please be prepared to submit via online form the name of nominee, department, title, institution, and FFAR Target Area of Research in which the individual will be working.  Because this award will support early career faculty members within the first three years of a tenure-track or equivalent career, you will also be required to submit the nominee’s date of appointment.


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    Dec
    14
    Selecting efficient cows for a changing environment


    By Samantha Kneeskern

    December 14, 2015 – The weather has been quite variable the past few years in the United States and for some beef producers, their herds are still trying to recover from the 2012 drought. However, other beef producers in the Western U.S. are continuing to experience drought and have not had any relief. The global surface temperature has steadily increased during the past decade and the forecast for the coming decade shows little promise for decreased global temperatures.

    Concomitantly, beef producers are selecting for enhanced growth characteristics. Therefore, cow size has also been increasing. Furthermore, larger cows require more forage and nutrients to meet maintenance requirements. Beef cattle producers may need to consider how to adapt to more persistent drought conditions and learn how to match cow type with environment to maximize cow efficiency. But how should producers do this?

    To answer that question, researchers at the University of Wyoming have been collecting data during the past 4 years on 80 Angus × Gelbvieh cows and their calves (310 total calves in 4 years) in a semiarid rangeland production environment.


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    Dec
    14
    Chromium affects steer carcass characteristics


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    By Samantha Kneeskern

    December 14, 2015 – Supplementation with chromium (Cr) has become increasingly popular, not only in humans, but also in livestock. But what is chromium? Chromium is a metal and an essential trace element. Trivalent chromium is stable, not toxic, and is found naturally in soil, water, and many food items (e.g. broccoli, red wine, and meat).

    Trivalent chromium is supplemented to humans and livestock because of its role in metabolic activity. Insulin function is enhanced with chromium supplementation, and therefore, glucose is used more efficiently. Diabetics are often given chromium to help normalize blood sugar levels.

    Young calves fed chromium have had boosts in their immune systems, become sick less frequently, and grow faster than calves not fed chromium. Growing cattle fed chromium have also become more insulin sensitive, meaning they use the same amount of insulin to clear more glucose from the blood.


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    Dec
    10
    IVF successful in dogs


    December 10, 2015 – Research at Cornell University has led to the first puppies born by in vitro fertilization.

    In a video in this article from the Cornell Chronicle, Dr. Alex Travis, associate professor of reproductive biology in the Baker Institute for Animal Health in Cornell’s College of Veterinary Medicine, called in vitro fertilization “a really powerful tool” for helping preserve endangered species of dog. The breakthrough also has implications for conserving wildlife and endangered species, and may offer a “powerful tool for understanding the genetic basis of diseases” in humans, Travis said.

    Read Research leads to first puppies born by in vitro fertilization.

    Photo: Mike Carroll/College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University


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    Dec
    10
    ASAS Joint Annual Meeting Petition Vote


    December 10, 2015 – A message from the ASAS Board of Directors to the voting members of ASAS:

    Dear Voting Members of ASAS: 

    The ASAS Board of Directors is in receipt of a petition (read full petition) and proposed motion requesting a membership vote on whether or not to re-establish a joint annual meeting (JAM) with ADSA beginning in 2019.  The 122 confirmed ASAS members on the petition represent a significantly lower number of members than is required by the state of Illinois to take action. In addition, more than 1,100 ASAS members responded to a survey in November and already “voted against” a JAM at all costs. However, ASAS has great respect for the will of its membership and is now putting the question as written by the petitioners to the ASAS membership for an official vote.  

    If the ASAS membership votes in the affirmative, ASAS will commit to work in good faith with ADSA toward a joint meeting even though it would lead to a financial deficit due to current contractural obligations.  If the ASAS membership votes against restoring a JAM, it is expected that the “Grassroots JAM2019” movement will accept the ASAS membership vote as final and binding. 


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    Dec
    10
    PORK 101 scheduled for University of Missouri, Jan. 13-15


    December 10, 2015 – The University of Missouri will be hosting a PORK 101 course January 13-15, 2016 in Columbia, Missouri.  PORK 101 is hosted by American Meat Science Association (AMSA) in cooperation with the National Pork Board and is sponsored by Elanco Animal Health.

    Attendees will experience firsthand the selection, evaluation and fabrication of their pork carcasses. As well as, the importance of hog handling, grading, food safety and much more. The course concludes with the attendees preparing and sampling products from pork carcasses including pumped loins, bacon, hams and sausage.

    Attendees will have the opportunity to learn about the value differences in swine, pork carcasses, pork primals and processed pork products from meat science faculty and AMSA members at the university.

    The program features:


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    Dec
    10
    Nutrition influences ovarian development in beef cattle


    By Samantha Kneeskern

    December 10, 2015 – Nutritional management of post-weaned beef heifers has lasting effects on lifetime reproductive efficiency and cow longevity in the herd.

    According to new research in the Journal of Animal Science, we now know more about the positive impact of limit feeding and compensatory growth on follicular development in the ovary. 

    The research, a collaborative effort between scientists at the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center in Nebraska and South Dakota State University, has important implications for lifetime reproductive performance and cow longevity in the herd.


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    Dec
    07
    Incentive to keep meat in the diet


    December 7, 2015 – Here’s one in support of the meat eaters out there: A new article in Women’s Health reports that plant-based diets may have some not-so-good mental health risks, including depression, anxiety and panic attacks.

    CNBC takes a look at the findings of the article in Eat more meat? Plant-based diets may hike mental health risks: Report

    Or, you can read first-hand “The Scary Mental Health Risks of Going Meatless” in Women’s Health.

     


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    Dec
    03
    ASAS membership vote on JAM petition


    December 3, 2015 – A message from the ASAS Board of Directors:

    Dear Voting Members of ASAS:

    The ASAS Board of Directors is in receipt of a petition (further details forthcoming) and proposed motion requesting a membership vote on whether or not to re-establish a joint annual meeting (JAM) with ADSA beginning in 2019.

    We realize that more than 1,100 of you have already responded to a recent survey from ASAS regarding the JAM and that the majority of you “voted against” a JAM at all costs. We further realize that many of you may feel you have already weighed in on this issue by completing the aforementioned JAM survey sent by ASAS in November. However, due to the fact that we have received this petition, and the fact that ASAS has great respect for the will of its membership, ASAS is now putting the question as written by the petitioners to the ASAS membership for an official vote.


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    Dec
    03
    Thank you 2015 Jr. Animal Scientist contributors!


    Dec. 3, 2015 – The content for several of the 2015 issues of Jr. Animal Scientist was made possible by outside contributors. We wish to thank the individuals who made the content of our 2015 issues possible, and we look forward to more collaborations in 2016!

    A special thank you to these volunteers:

    We look forward to new Jr. Animal Scientist partnerships in 2016. There are still a couple issues that need contributors. If you have an idea, or wish to contribute content, let us know. Email kims@asas.org

    We also welcome new content, images and videos for the AnimalSmart.org website and e-newsletter. Share your science with the kids!


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    Dec
    03
    Register now for ISAG


    December 3, 2015 – Register today to take advantage of the reduced registration rates for the 35th International Society for Animal Genetics Conference (ISAG 2016) to be held in Salt Lake City, UT from July 23 to July 27.  Registration rates increase December 15.

     


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    Dec
    03
    Visit the ASAS Resource Directory


    Dec. 13, 2015 – Lab equipment getting old? Find the equipment, services and supplies you need at the Animal Science Resource Directory! There are more than a dozen categories to browse — find suppliers for everything from animal-handling to x-ray equipment.

    Categories include:

    Animal Handling Equipment

    Animal Health/Monitoring


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    Dec
    03
    Gene editing meeting in D.C. next week


    December 3, 2015 – Join the Institute for Laboratory Animal Science (ILAR) Roundtable (on Science and Welfare in Laboratory Animal Use) for a free 2-day workshop on “Gene Editing to Modify Animal Genomes for Research: Scientific and Ethical Considerations.” The workshop will be held December 7-8, 2015, at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine Keck Center at 500 5th Street NW, Washington, D.C. It also will be freely available via webcast.

    During the workshop, experts will discuss the promise and challenges of gene editing in animal research using CRISPR/Cas9, TALENS and “zinc fingers.”


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    Nov
    30
    Entering an era of open access data


    By Dr. Wendy Powers, ASAS Public Policy Committee

    November 30, 2015 – I don’t know about you, but I am still in the process of thinking through open data and all of its attributes. On the one hand, it is exciting to think about accessing and using publically available data for innovative purposes! On the other hand, I am cautious about data ownership and misuse of data (even for scientific purposes), its consequences, and liability.

    Federal agencies have bought into the concept of Open Data, and certainly it offers an opportunity for greater impact as a result of data collected using public funds. The National Institutes of Health has partnered with Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the Wellcome Trust to create an Open Science Prize that supports biomedical research. In a press release from NIH, Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. says he “expects the Open Science Prize to generate innovative ideas to improve data access and establish new international collaborations that will illustrate the transformative power of sharing research data.” Open data is not just a topic for NIH. Recently U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack spoke to agriculture business leaders about the role the USDA should play in big data and led a roundtable discussion on the topic at October’s Borlaug Dialogue.

    The process whereby data are moved to an open platform is where I get hung up. How does this happen in the absence of an Open Science Prize award? And how does one ensure that the data are explained properly to ensure appropriate interpretation and use? I have countless datasets that I like to think have a greater purpose than just the publications, grant applications and dissertations for which they have been used, if only a mind greater than mine had access to them. A number of those datasets were funded from federal sources. Should I expect in the future that I will need to attach datasets with my CRIS report?


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    Nov
    30
    Save-the-date: Snack and Fact


    Nov. 30, 2015 – The next “Snack and Fact” briefing is set for December 14 in Washington, D.C. The briefing will focus on the topic of “Communicating the Animal Sciences Effectively,” which is the subject of the July 2015 issue of Animal Frontiers.

    Please make plans to join us on December 14, from noon to 1:00 p.m. (Eastern) in the House Agriculture Committee conference room, located at 1300 Longworth House Office Building, Washington, D.C.

    Topics and speakers include:

    The Snack and Fact briefing is hosted by ASAS.


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    Nov
    30
    Policy committee speaks at FFAR public session


    By Dr. Tameka Phillips, ASAS Public Policy Committee


    November 30, 2015 – This past summer, members of the ASAS Public Policy Committee participated in a teleconference with the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) to discuss FFAR research target areas. The ASAS Public Policy Committee then wrote a letter to FFAR, providing comments regarding FFAR research priorities. In particular, the Committee requested that the Foundation incorporate improved plant and animal efficiency into its “sustainable agricultural systems” target area. The Committee also recommended an additional research priority (the application of current and cutting-edge technologies to plant and animal production systems).

    On Oct. 28, ASAS member, Dr. Tameka Phillips, a reproductive biologist at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park, represented the society at the first FFAR public session of the board of directors. Her three-minute speech reiterated ASAS recommendations to FFAR’s research priorities. Several of the ASAS recommendations were also mentioned by representatives from the American Veterinary Medical Association, the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges, and Dairy Management, Inc.

    FFAR’s newly appointed Executive Director, Dr. Sally Rockey, concluded the session with the announcement of two inaugural programs: The New Innovation in Food and Agriculture Research Award and the Rapid Response program. The New Innovation in Food and Agriculture Research Award (10 awards given) will support early-career scientists with $200,000 per year for three years. The Rapid Response program, in collaboration with USDA, will fund first responders that deal with threats to the food and agricultural systems.


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    Nov
    30
    Revised water policy statement available


    November 30, 2015 – A revised copy of the ASAS policy statement “Preserving Water and Water Quality Associated with Livestock and Poultry Production” is now available. Five other updated policy statements also are available. They focus on international agricultural development, nutrition, biotechnology, bioenergy alternatives, and climate change. For your convenience, a copy of the updated statement about water and water quality is provided below. Access all of the updated statements here. 

    Increased climate variability will create challenging environmental conditions for livestock and poultry producers including escalated heat stress, drought, and floods. Livestock are generally resilient to climate variation, but the current rate of climate change will impose overwhelming pressure on livestock systems to adapt to changing environmental conditions. Existing water supplies are becoming more variable due to increased extreme weather events. In addition, increased temperatures cause an increase in water evaporation, increased drought severity in the absence of precipitation, and increased probability for environmental stress in livestock.

    Water is an essential nutrient for life, therefore water rights and water usage issues will become more tumultuous as the needs of humans, crops, wildlife, and domesticated livestock and poultry are balanced. Greater knowledge of the demands from each of these sectors will enhance water use planning by creating tools to balance all water needs with that of food production. Since water is essential to maintain and increase food security, efforts to manage dwindling supplies in the face of weather extremes are inherently vital.

    During the past 50 years, livestock and poultry production has evolved to fewer and larger production units for several reasons, including the benefits of scale in efficient use of resources. As livestock and poultry production units have increased in size, there have been concerns about their impact on natural resources including water quantity and quality.


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