‘Animal Health and Genetics’ was an interesting discussion session at last week’s LiveSTOCK Exchange event. This session was introduced by Vish Nene, the Theme Director of the ILRI Biotech group and he focused on 3 broad areas where science will revolutionize the 21st century. They are:
- Computer revolution
- Quantum revolution
- Bio-molecular revolution
Computer Revolution: A lot of changes have been observed in the last decade, a good example is the changes in the High-performance Computing (HPC) server used at ILRI for data analysis that was recently upgraded. The new server is more efficient, has a much higher processing speed, occupies 1/5 the space of the older machine and is 10x faster. The effects of cloud computing are anticipated to be observed in this field. The iCow, an agri mobile application that assists farmer in managing their cow’s breeding and nutrition is another example that is fast becoming a farmer’s best friend. These and many other changes in technology offer a myriad of opportunities for scientist to take advantage of.
Quantum revolution: This is termed as one of the greatest success stories in modern physics of making sense of the very small. This revolution has the great potential of turning science fiction into fact.
Bio-molecular revolution: This revolution is based on the genome and genomics revolution, genes are important in providing new solutions to problems in biology. The Roche 454 GS FLX sequencer has enabled low-cost and much faster whole genome sequencing than could ever be imagined. This sequencer has a capacity of sequencing approximately 400-600 megabases of DNA per 10-hour run. Synthetic genomics, which involves tailoring biology so as to make useful products, is another new area that is changing the outlook of science. With the 3 major bio-inputs of feed, health and genetics necessary to increase the livestock productivity, it is up to scientist’s ingenuity to see how they are going to take advantage of these revolutions to apply in their science.