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Research begins in $30 million Sheep Genomics Program

Wednesday, 09 January 2002

Australia's foremost livestock biologists have gathered at a Sydney forum to mark the beginning of the research phase of the $30 million Sheep Genomics Program (SGP).

The scientists from nine of Australia's leading animal research organisations met late last month to discuss the science, management processes and areas of research that make up the SGP initiative.

The SGP research initiative - a joint program between Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) and Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) - is designed to increase productivity in the sheep industry and improve meat and wool quality through identifying sheep genes and their functions.

MLA General Manager for Livestock Production Innovation, Dr Reuben Rose said that the forum was an important milestone for the SGP research initiative.

"This forum is the beginning of a massive research undertaking which has the potential to keep the Australian sheep industry at the forefront of international success," he said.

"The first SGP workshop really reinforced how much of a collaborative endeavour the project is and highlighted the high calibre scientists and organisations that are involved."

AWI Program Manager for Wool Production, Dr Paul Swan, said that the focus of the SGP research is to develop practical outcomes that produce real benefits for sheep producers and woolgrowers.

"Everyone involved in this program has an obligation to ensure that the research carried out delivers benefits back to Australian sheep producers and woolgrowers," he said.

"There is a substantial amount of money being invested in this research program so it is vital that industry sees a continued return on investment from the SGP research."

The SGP is funded by contributions from producer levies and from the Australian Government. The research organisations involved are also contributing around $20 million "in kind" towards the program.

Ends

Media contacts: Reuben Rose - MLA General Manager Livestock Production Innovation - (02) 9463 9228, and Paul Swan - AWI Program Manager Wool Production - (02) 9299 5155

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