21 January 2000

CONFERENCE BRIEFS

&#8226 SEXED semen would be reasonably priced even if it were marketed at twice the price of unsexed semen, according to George Seidel.

Using sexed semen means it will only take half the straws to produce a calf of the desired sex. He estimates that when launched commercially in North America it will cost £15 to £30 extra a straw. But in time that premium will reduce to £6 a straw. UK prices may vary from that, he added.

&#8226 THE pace of biotechnology research continues to quicken, but its value is more likely to be found in complex traits, such as meat eating quality, than growth.

Roslin Institute director, Grahame Bulfield, explained there is most to gain from finding genes for traits which are difficult to measure. Identifying genes for disease resistance in the lab, for example, and then finding animals which carry those genes, even with a low heritability, will help improve animal health and, therefore, welfare, he said.