An emerging science that links nutrition with gene expression – termed nutrigenomics – is proving valuable in livestock production, according to Alltech’s US-based cattle specialist Steve Elliot.

Mr Elliot used selenium status and its effect on milk yield in dairy cows to illustrate the understanding made possible through nutrigenomics, which has come about since mapping of genomes for different species has been possible.

“The positive impact that improved selenium status has on the milk yield performance of dairy cows can now be explained through nutrigenomics,” he said.

“And this is already leading to improved methods of supplementation.

“Improving selenium status of cows means more of the genes positively affecting milk production are up-regulated and are, therefore, more active.