The meeting took place in the Killeshin Hotel in Portlaoise yesterday (Thursday 18th) with a wide range of industry representatives present (80 in total). There were update presentations by Teagasc, UCD and Sheep Ireland, followed by the main component of meeting, the Ovigen project which was presented by Donagh Berry, Noirin McHugh and Eamon Wall. There was some very good points and encouraging feedback from the audience which will also be taken on board.
The Launch of Ovigen
The Ovigen project is a new 4 year research project exploring the possibility of genomic selection in Sheep which is being funded by the Dept. of Agriculture. This is a hugely exciting project which will need the collaboration of several industry bodies to insure its successful completion. It is proposed that a DNA sample will be collected from each stock ram and ewe that lambs down in 2015 from flocks that are members of LambPlus and with breeds that have enough phenotypes (ie, weights, scanning, lambing difficulties, ect) recorded on the Sheep Ireland database. This will equate to approximately 10,000 animals. The DNA from these animals will be collected by Sheep Ireland technicians, with the time of collection being dictated by a flocks lambing patterns (ie, when lambs are old enough to be herded). This project will at a minimum deliver parentage verification, major genes and better inbreeding reports which will all help deliver higher more reliable €uroStar evaluations, and hopefully the outcome will demonstrate that genomics is currently possible for some of the largest breeds in the Irish Sheep industry.
You can download a PDF of the presentation here
The next meeting will take place in about 9 months when the first phase of the project has been completed.