This month’s featured video pays tribute to Gentec personality Dr. John Crowley as he advances another level in his rapidly evolving career. Some of our readers will know that as of July 1, John will be joining AbacusBio in its head office in Dunedin, New Zealand, for three months before settling into its international office in Edinburgh, Scotland.
John came to Gentec in 2011 from the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation, where he had been working as part of the genetic evaluation team.
Coming from a dairy and beef background and going on to be classically trained PhD in Quantitative Genetics, John was able to focus on the fact that the goal was always to help the science help the producer manage their operation and achieve production efficiencies. While always working as part of the Gentec / University of Alberta academic team, this drew John back to work with industry, initially as an Industry R&D Associate with Beefbooster from 2012 to 2014 (supported by Alberta Innovates), and in a similar position with the Canadian Beef Breeds Council immediately after that.
The video, filmed at Gentec’s 2018 One Genome One Health conference, provides an update on the Genome Alberta and Alberta Agriculture and Forestry project on “Development and deployment of MBVs/gEPDs for feed efficiency and carcass traits that perform in commercial beef cattle.” It shows John doing what he says he enjoys most about his roles in “helping to bridge the gaps between the academic role in discovery and innovation with that of facilitating the uptake and application of these new technologies by producers and industry … the interface of progress.”
In this presentation, John talks about the efforts to bring to the producer genomics tools and selection indexes that focus on traits of economic importance: feed efficiency and carcass traits such as carcass weight, marbling grade and lean yield.
One area where Gentec does “particularly well” (John’s words!) is in partnering with user groups who can benefit from the technology being developed. Here, that means working with Troy Drake of Cow Calf Health Management Solutions and 13 Alberta-based producers to provide genetic evaluations for commercial producers, increase the genetic merit of the cow herd by increasing the accuracy of genomics prediction tools and by delivering genomics breed composition to producers. This latter ability is demonstrating particular value as it allows commercial (crossbred) producers to optimize the value of hybrid vigour within their herd while taking advantage of breed complementarity (the fact that the different breeds have different strengths).
Valuable advances to be sure—but the science does not stop here … The next frontier involves gEPDs and selection indexes for maternal traits.
We wish John success in the next step in his career with one of Gentec’s partner organizations.