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Revolutionising science centre opens at MBG Foulum

The strategic research centre GenSAP, which aim to develop new genomic selection tools for animal and plant breeding, will be officially opened with a two-day opening symposium in June.

2013.05.17 | Søren Tobberup Hansen

On 13 and 14 June the strategic research centre GenSAP, which has its home at research centre AU Foulum, will be officially inaugurated with an opening symposium held at Aarhus and Foulum. Photo: Colourbox

A two-day opening symposium in the middle of June marks the official start of the strategic research centre GenSAP – Center for Genomic Selection in Animals and Plants – which will be developing the next generation of genomic selection tools via its extensive collaboration with world-leading scientists, Danish research sections and commercial breeding companies.

Genomic selection is a new tool within plant and animal breeding, which has gone from strength to strength in the world of science on the basis of sensational results. The principle behind the tool is that the DNA sequence across the entire genome is used rather than just single genes. This is a new approach where scientists integrate ever more detailed knowledge of the genetic factors based on enormous amounts of data in the selection decisions. The result is a much more effective selection of the animals and plants best suited to make up the future generations.

- Genomic selection simply turns the way selection decisions are made upside down, says the centre director Mogens Sandø Lund.

The opening symposium takes place on 13 June in Aarhus and on 14 June in Foulum, where scientists from Aarhus University, and international distinguished scientists, will be among the speakers.

 Grant became starting signal
The foundation for GenSAP was created at the end of 2012 when a team of national and international scientists led by the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics at Aarhus University succeeded in getting a grant of 30.6 million DKK from the Danish Council for Strategic Research’s programme commission for Health, Food and Welfare.

This was partly based on the genomic selection research that had been undertaken by the geneticists at the department within recent years, and which primarily focused on pigs and cattle. The method is not yet as widely used in plant breeding, but the potential there is expected to be as large as for pigs and cattle.

- We expect that breeding based on genomic information will give a substantial contribution to meeting one of the large challenges of the future: producing adequate amounts of high-quality food while maintaining animal welfare, biodiversity and a sound environment, says Mogens Sandø Lund, and continues:

- For this to succeed, in-depth knowledge of the underlying genetic mechanisms for genetic traits of importance for food production in animals and plants is required.

The work at the new centre will focus on basic research and method development, but professional organisations and companies also provide financial support for the centre since they are the ones to benefit from the development of the tools and knowledge.

GenSAP numbers 17 partners, including Danish research environments and commercial breeders as well as internationally recognised scientists.

The total budget for the centre is 68.7 million DKK over five years.

Further information: Centre manager Mogens Sandø Lund, e-mail: mogens.lund@agrsci.dk, telephone: +458715 8024, mobile: +45 2075 1222

You will find further information on GenSAP on gensap.au.dk

Further information

Centre Director Mogens Sandø Lund
Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics
Aarhus University

e-mail: mogens.lund@agrsci.dk, phone: +45 8715 8024, mobile: +45 2075 1222

Public / media, Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics