Livestock innovation and welfare
The South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI) Livestock Innovation and Welfare science program aims to improve livestock reproduction.
This program develops scientific approaches that help Australian livestock industries to meet the growing demand for ethical animal production.
Research and development incorporates:
- goat production.
The program provides specialist services and innovative research to improve:
- breeding efficiency and animal genetics
- animal welfare
- product quality.
We conduct advanced reproductive techniques, including:
- ovum pick up (OPU)
- embryo transfer
- in-vitro embryo production
- IVF and sexing
- juvenile in-vitro embryo transfer (JIVET).
Dr Simon Bawden leads this program, which has 2 subprograms:
- Reproductive Technology
- Animal Molecular Biology.
Subprograms and research focus
Our reproductive technology group produced Matilda, the first cloned Merino sheep in Australia.
The team was also the first in the nation to produce transgenic sheep with modified wool.
Research and development specialties include:
- artificial insemination (including semen collection and testing)
- assisted reproduction techniques and cloning techniques
- oocyte/embryo manipulation (including ICSI, embryo splitting and transfer).
A continuing area of study is of the effects of nutrition during the peri-conception period on offspring phenotype and life-time performance.
We also train veterinarians, embryologists and students in reproductive technologies.
- Development and commercial application of JIVET and mature in-vitro embryo transfer (MIVET) techniques.
- Commercial utilisation of OPU and IVF in cattle.
- Providing commercially available media required for in-vitro culture of embryos and for embryo transfer.
Animal Molecular Biology
This subprogram explores underlying genetic control of trait performance at a gene/DNA level.
Application of the increased knowledge of key genetic determinants of production traits will supplement the conventional tools available for livestock improvement based on quantitative genetics.
Outcomes and services include:
- gene discovery and genotyping
- linkage of gene function with phenotype
- development of gene analysis tools.
- Genotyping for the sheep industry.
- Development of tools for objective measurement of red meat eating quality.
Key focus areas of the Livestock Innovation and Welfare science program are the analysis of gene expression in livestock and genome editing, to modify commercially significant production traits.