Current Projects

Leveraging OMICS and systems biology to understand the genes and metabolic pathways associated with genetic resistance of sheep to gastrointestinal nematode parasite infections (R16-1)

Applicant: University of Guelph - Dr. Angela Canovas
Timeline: October 2016 to October 2019

  • Examine the transcriptome (measuring the gene expression) using high-throughput technologies by collecting samples from HIGH and MIDDLE stress responding and HIGH and LOW immune responding "tracer" sheep; these are novel phenotypes that are currently being investigated as a means to enhance parasite resistance by improving overall animal health.
  • Combine the resulting experimental - OMICS data (i.e. transcriptomics and gene networks) to focus on systems biology and bioinformatics approaches to identify metabolic pathways and genes (key regulator genes) affecting parasite resistance and these novel health phenotypes.
  • Combine this new information with data from other ongoing projects in order to develop more robust approaches for using genomic selection in industry breeding plans by selecting genetically resistant animals to H. contortus infection and have reduced levels of egg output that will lower pasture contamination during our grazing season.
  • Identify barriers to participation in genetic selection programs, and to develop and deliver information that increases producer understanding of what is available and the potential impacts on profitability. This will be a part of the OMAFRA-KTT program Accelerating the transition and transformation of research knowledge in genetics to enhance innovation in Canada's beef and sheep industries