A THREE-year research agreement between Cobb-Vantress Inc., a global industry leader in poultry genetics, and the University of Edinburgh's Roslin Institute will facilitate collaboration on avian disease resistance, genome analysis and genome preservation.
Cobb is putting almost $1 million into avian research programs at The Roslin Institute to identify innovative ways to improve avian health as well as develop unique technologies to understand and preserve the current and heritage poultry genomes.
The investment creates a strategic partnership that leverages each entity's strengths.
Mitch Abrahamsen, Cobb vice president of research and development, said the partnership is an "opportunity for Cobb to continue a close, collaborative relationship with The Roslin Institute and their new National Avian Research Facility," a recently opened, state-of-the-art facility with a focus on poultry research.
"The continued financial investments by The Roslin Institute in people and infrastructure demonstrate their commitment to making significant contributions toward improving poultry health and capitalizing on the opportunities afforded by the ever-expanding understanding of the chicken genome," he added.
One application of this partnership is an effort to develop new technology enabling pedigree or heritage lines to be maintained without the need to physically maintain the bird stock.
In addition, several projects will investigate DNA markers in the genome, targeting some of the more difficult-to-select-for traits such as avian immunity, disease tolerance and disease resistance.
"These are exciting new areas which we hope will lead to major breakthroughs in avian health and preservation," Cobb chief technology officer Dr. Christine Daugherty said. "Cobb has an extensive gene pool, and to be able to better understand the poultry genome will be critical to meeting future demands for poultry products. We're always striving to breed more robust chickens that will withstand disease and environmental challenges. We're looking for birds with greater immunity to diseases or with the ability to tolerate disease without affecting their performance."
The collaboration will support research by graduate students and will run for an initial three years, with potential for renewal.