Enhancing production in mink through advanced genomics

Renseignements sur le financement
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
  • Type de subvention: Subventions de recherche et développement coopérative
  • Années: 2018/19 à 2019/20
  • Financement total: $370,691
Mots clés
Chercheur(e) principal(e)

Sommaire du projet

Together, the mink industry in Canada and the United States add more than $4 billion to the North American economy each year, and $1 billion to the Canadian economy alone. The Canadian fur industry accounts for approximately 60,000 jobs across the country and North America is the fourth largest exporter of fur in the world. This economy can also grow (by an estimated $60 million annually) by improving economically important traits in North American mink breeding programs such as feed efficiency, growth rates, reproductive performance, body size and fur quality. To date, it has been both difficult and expensive to collect these data for mink selection in North America. These novel traits for mink breeders cannot be integrated into the breeding programs without good knowledge of their genetic backgrounds. The mink genome is now being sequenced and this will create a considerable number of single nucleotide polymorphisms that can be used for genomic studies in mink. The project will collect phenotypic data on 3,000 animals that can be used for genomic studies. This will be achieved by partnership between Dalhousie University and the Canada Mink Breeders Association. In this project, the potential of genomic selection for these traits will be evaluated. Genomic selection (GS) for these traits would increase the rate of genetic gain resulting in more profit for the mink industry as demonstrated in other livestock industries. In addition, the genes identified in the project could provide new opportunities for marker-assisted selection (MAS) program. Therefore, the objective of this project is to assess the potential of GS and MAS in mink production systems and develop the tools for implementation of genetic/genomic selection for the development of superior, high efficient and healthy animals. This project will generate highly qualified personnel capable of developing and applying innovative genomics and bioinformatics approaches of use in agriculture industry especially in the mink industry. This approach will help improve the overall performance of the Canadian mink industry, which is currently in difficulty, due to several economic factors such as declining fur prices and high feed costs. *