Research Team Awarded Grant to Integrate Livestock Pathology Reports for Improved Breeding
A research team led by Theodore Kalbfleisch, PhD and faculty member in the University of Kentucky’s Gluck Equine Research Center, was recently awarded a grant from the Agricultural Genome to Phenome Initiative (AG2PI) to create a service that can integrate pathology reports of aborted pregnancies in sheep, cattle and horses for use among breeders and the scientific community.
The project is one of nine seed grants awarded by AG2PI involving 27 institutions around the globe in the third and final round of grant competition. Awarded grant projects will address issues related to agricultural genome to phenome research such as developing solutions for research infrastructure needs and identifying opportunities for cross-kingdom synergies.
Funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, AG2PI is a three-year project ending in 2023. The goal of AG2PI is to connect crop and livestock scientists to each other and to those working in data science, statistics, engineering, and social sciences to identify shared problems and collaborate on solutions.
The Seed Grants span three levels of funding: emerging grants, enabling grants and establishing grants. Award amounts range from $50,000–$100,000, depending on the grant type and associated funding level. The projects begin in June and will run from six to 12 months.
Kalbfleisch will work with three groups of collaborators from five universities, including:
- Fiona McCarthy, University of Arizona
- Elaine Norton, University of Arizona
- Jennifer Janes, University of Kentucky
- Jessica Petersen, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
- David Steffen, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
- Brenda Murdoch, University of Idaho
- Darren Hagen, Oklahoma State University.
The team will collaborate on the Enabling Grant project, “A Genetic Data Portal to Enable Discovery of Deleterious Genetic Variants in Farmed Animals.” They intend to create a data management system that will integrate pathology reports as well as sequencing, analyzing and publishing data for aborted pregnancies in farm animals with no known causes. By having this information sharable, it could improve successful breeding opportunities for other researchers and animal scientists.
“We have gotten very good at being productive with high throughput genetic data in a research setting,” Kalbfleisch said. “The aim of this project is to build a conduit for producers and clinicians to submit samples, have them analyzed in a context of all existing genetic knowledge for the respective species and breed, and have the results of these analyses reported back to them for productive use in their practices and breeding programs. It is an opportunity to tighten the feedback loop between animal scientists and animal producers, and we are excited for it.”
“The projects awarded in this final round of our seed grant program provide a clear illustration of the AG2PI project’s success,” said Patrick Schnable, AG2PI lead Principal Investigator and distinguished professor at Iowa State University. “Over the last year, AG2PI has awarded 27 seed grants for research projects, totaling $1.1 million and involving more than 50 institutions, making an impact across the country. Many multi-disciplinary and multi-institutional collaborations are being enabled by these seed grants supported by USDA NIFA.”
For more information on the three rounds of seed grant projects as well as other grant opportunities, visit the webpage: https://www.ag2pi.org/seed-grants/.
The AG2PI is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture. The goal of AG2PI is to build communities that address the challenges of genome-to-phenome research across crops and livestock. The AG2PI partners include Iowa State University, University of Nebraska, University of Arizona, University of Idaho and the Iowa Corn Promotion Board.
Source: edited news release from AG2PI