Pig Genome Update No. 31

July 1, 1998
 Table of Contents:                                              # of lines
 1. A USDA Agricultural Genome Initiative? ............................. 37
 2. U.S. Species Geonome Coordinators Selected ......................... 19
 3. Need Pig Primers?  Set 4 and Set 5 Are Ready to Ship ................ 6
 4. The World Pork Expo Held in Des Moines .............................. 7
 5. NC220 Meeting Held in Auburn, Alabama ............................... 8
 6. NAGRP Pig Genome Web Site is Continuously Being Upgraded ............ 6
 7. Work on the U.S. Node for the PIGBASE Managers is in Progress ...... 10 
 8. First International Workshop on Pig Chromosome 13 .................. 16
 9. A Special Conference: from Jay Lush to Genomics .................... 11
10. Meeting Updates .................................................... 38

A USDA AGRICULTURAL GENOME INITIATIVE? There has been considerable discussions that USDA will be placing as one of its highest priorities an agricultural genome initiative. This follows the strong efforts by some plant community groups to add funding to the National Science Foundation's budget ($40 million in FY98,$50 million in FY 99). In the recently passed Research Title of the Farm Bill, additional funds were allocated to agricultural research. Among the highest priorities Congress identified was agricultural genome. It is clear that the animal community needs to have access to these funds on a competitive basis. To that measure, the coordinators for NRSP-8 were invited to present their case to Eileen Kennedy, the assistant undersecretary for agriculture, and Michael Roberts, chief scientist within the research, education, and economics mission area of USDA. Also present were groups of plant scientists and microbial geneticists. The animal community was well represented by the species coordinators or their representative, who spoke powerfully for the need for agricultural animal genome research. The case was further supported by the ability of the animal genome to build upon the human and mouse genome sequencing efforts. This program was authorized for funding by Congress and was well on track as late as June 10. However, this program and some other agricultural research support were then deleted, apparently in one of the appropriations committees or subcommittees in Congress. Dr. Roberts still held out some hope for restoring the funding as of last week, but at this point, neither recurring nor one time only dollars are in hand for the USDA Genome Initiative. People are broadly very hopeful that funds will be available for an agricultural genome initiative in the very near future. The likely dollar figures within the USDA range from between $20 million and $60 million per year. If funds become available, requests for proposals will be sought and grants awarded on a competitive basis. We will be working closely with USDA to be of assistance to them during this process (kindly provided by Drs. Colin Scanes and Jerry Dodgson).

Please get involved and help promote animal genome work. The recent happenings in Washington suggest we must be more involved. We need to continue to inform the researchers, administrators and the public with which we work with of the importance of genome research involving farm animals and aquaculture.

U.S. SPECIES GEONOME COORINATORS SELECTED for a new five year term. As prescribed by the proposal to renew NRSP-8, and as was done for the initial project, a competitive peer review process was conducted to select Species Genome Coordinators. The USDA Peer Review Panel met recently to evaluate the proposals, and Dr. Jim Womack, Texas A & M University (Cattle), Dr. Noelle Cockett, Utah State University (Sheep), Dr. Max Rothschild, Iowa State University (Swine), Dr. Jerry Dodgson, Michigan State University and Dr. Hans Cheng, USDA-ARS- ADOL (poultry) and Dr. Ernie Bailey, University of Kentucky (Horses) have been selected to serve as Species Genome Coordinators. Also, two sites have been designated for the animal genome databases. The primary site for the swine and poultry databases is Iowa State University. The primary site for the cattle, sheep and horse databases is Texas A & M University. Congratulations to each of these individuals. It is extremely important that the Species Genome Coordinator and the Technical Committee members for each species work closely together and jointly determine the best use of limited funding to coordinate and facilitate the gene mapping research of that species (kindly provided by Drs. Colin Scanes and Richard Frahm).

NEED PIG PRIMERS? If you haven't already requested them, set 4 (53 pairs) and set 5 (24 pairs) of fluorescent primers are made and ready for shipping. As before, please request these only if you plan to use the entire set and you will acknowledge that these were a part of the USDA/CSREES sponsored pig genome coordination program. To request them, please email the pig genome coordinator at mfrothsc@iastate.edu.

THE WORLD PORK EXPO, sponsored by NPPC was recently held in Des Moines, Iowa. Scientists, producers, and industry people were part of the 40,000 or more people who attended this large trade show and educational event. As always, this meeting was an excellent opportunity for discussing challenges and opportunities in the industry. It is clear that there is a growing interest in the pig genome project and the technologies involved in this research.

The NC220 "Integration of quantitative and molecular technologies for genetic improvement of pigs" meeting was recently held in Auburn, Alabama. The meeting included reports from 11 stations (AL, GA, IA, IN, MI, NE, NC, OH, OK, VA and USDA-MARC) and the 2 advisors. Topics of interest included QTL and candidate gene analyses for reproduction, feed efficiency, growth and meat quality traits. Reports and the discussion that followed were quite useful. The possibility of a joint QTL experiment involving many stations was also discussed and plans may follow.

THE NAGRP PIG GENOME WEB SITE IS CONTINUOUSLY BEING UPGRADED. This web site has been undergoing a updating for the convenience of swine gene mapping researchers. The recent improvements on this site include adding many customized on-line search web interfaces and frequently used links. Check the "Genome Information Search Interface" and the "Genome Research Information Links" at http://www.genome.iastate.edu for details.

THE WORK ON A U.S. NODE FOR THE PIGBASE MANAGERS IS IN PROGRESS. A grant from USDA for setting up the U.S. Node for PIGBASE has been approved. Purchase of a database server machine and an Ingress license are being actively worked on. The machine being considered under the plan is a 300 MH Alpha Dec System with a 12 GB hard disk and 1,024 MB RAM. This will be a significant upgrade from the old server. The server will be up running in the next several months. A number of new services and features with the new machine are possible and are being planned. Please check at http://www.genome.iastate.edu/maps/usnode.html for the progress of the node development.

It is not too late to attend the FIRST INTERNATIONAL WORKSHOP ON PIG CHROMOSOME 13 on Sunday August 9, 1998 in conjunction with the International Society of Animal Genetics (ISAG) meeting in Auckland, New Zealand. The Workshop will be held near the ISAG conference center and will last one day. Registration will be 30 New Zealand dollars (about 20 USD), which includes a lunch and coffee breaks. This represents for participants only half of these costs, as the remaining funds has been generously donated by the U.S. National Pig Genome Coordination program, one of the sponsors of this Workshop. PIC USA has also generously donated funds to help cover costs of speakers for this workshop. For more details please contact Chris Tuggle at cktuggle@iastate.edu or see the previous newsletter (kindly provided by Chris Tuggle).

Other workshops at ISAG include the Pig workshop which will include a roundtable discussion on interesting traits and gene mapping. This and other workshops will make the meeting in NZ extremely worthwhile.

A SPECIAL CONFERENCE: FROM JAY LUSH TO GENOMICS: Visions for Animal Breeding and Genetics will be held May 16-18, 1999 at Iowa State University Ames, Iowa. This not-to-be-missed conference will bring together quantitative and molecular geneticists from industry, government, and academia to discuss the future of animal breeding and genetics in light of changes in the fields of molecular genetics and informatics. The program will feature eleven plenary lectures by renowned international scientists and a poster session of current research by participants. The schedule is arranged to encourage participant interaction and discussion. Information on the program and speakers can be seen at http://www.public.iastate.edu/~ans/graduate/visions.html .

MEETING UPDATES: July 19-24, 1998, Gordon Research Conference on Molecular Genetics, Salve Regina University Newport, Rhode Island, USA. Contact: http://www.grc.uri.edu/progra~2/molgen.htm

  • July 27-30, 1998 ASAS, Joint American Society of Animal Science and American Dairy Science Asso. Annual Meeting, Location: Denver, CO. Contact: http://www.adsa.uiuc.edu/meet/98meet/

  • August 9, 1998 The First International Workshop on Pig Chromosome 13, in conjunction with ISAG meeting, Auckland, New Zealand. Contact: Dr. Chris Tuggle, cktuggle@iastate.edu.

  • August 9-14, 1998, The XXVI (26th) International Conference on Animal Genetics (ISAG), Aotea Centre, Auckland, New Zealand, Ian Anderson (ebtu@manawatu.gen.nz). Contact: http://biochem.otago.ac.nz:800/panzora/isag/isag2.html

  • August 10-15, 1998, The XVIIIth International Congress of Genetics Location: Beijing, China. Contact: http://www.ihep.ac.cn/ins/IHEP/div10/icg/index.html

  • August 17-21, 1998, The Fourth Global Conference on Conservation of Domestic Animal Genetic Resources, Kathmandu, Nepal. Contact: biodiversity@narcanbd.wlink.comp.np 84322-4700, phone: 435-797-2753, Fax: 435-797-2766, email: nancya@cscrs1.usu.edu.

  • Plant and Animal Genome VII; San Diego, CA, January 17-21, 1999; associated with National Animal Genome Research Program meeting and NC-168 Regional Research meeting. Information will eventually be available at http://www.scherago.com .

  • From Jay Lush to Genomics: Visions for Animal Breeding and Genetics will be held May 16-18, 1999 at Iowa State University Ames, IA. Information at: http://www.public.iastate.edu/~ans/graduate/visions.html .

    Contributions to Pig Genome Update 31, including short meeting announcements, are always welcome. Please send by August 10.

                        Max Rothschild
                        U.S. Pig Genome Coordinator
                        225 Kildee Hall, Department of Animal Science
                        Iowa State University
                        Ames, Iowa 50011
                        Phone: 515-294-6202, Fax: 515-294-2401

    cc: Dick Frahm, CSREES and Roger Gerrits, ARS
    Paid for by funds from the NRSP-8 USDA/CSREES sponsored Pig Genome Coordination Program
    Mailing list: angenmap@iastate.edu

    © US Pig Genome Coordination Program