Improved breeding programmes vital to planet’s sustainability, Executive Director Glen Illing says
Global agriculture needs to double the rate of improvement in its breeding programmes if it is to meet the challenges of coming decades, according to Glen Illing, the founder and executive director of Roslin Technologies.
Scientific breeding, which accelerated in the 1920s and received a further boost in the 1960s with quantitative genetics, has been instrumental in improving food production, contributing 50% of growth historically, according to Illing. With the world needing to produce 70% more food by 2050 to keep pace with an ever-growing population, and yet conscious of our need to manage the limited resources of the Earth, scientists and agricultural specialists are going to have to step up and increase the returns made through breeding technology.
“We need to double efficiency in production and to do that we need more disruptive technology in this field,” Iliing said at an online investor presentation last week.
Among the disruptive technologies that Roslin Tech is ready to implement include innovations in pig agriculture that can significantly reduce the costs of breeding the most productive animals. The company is also moving into new areas such as shrimp production where technology is set to increase profitability by a factor of four.
Roslin Tech is at the forefront of investment and innovation in the animal breeding sector, in both traditional genetics and modern genomics, where the company’s experts can consider as many as 700,000 different markers to determine the most suitable characteristics for a production system. Genomics allows scientists to peer into those elements that are highly important for the animal but are hard to measure by physical observation; for example the detection of disease resistance or meat quality.
Roslin Tech offers bespoke breeding solutions to the widest range of clients including farmers, veterinarians, research institutions and farming cooperatives.