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A world first breakthrough which provides secure life-long identification for cattle was launched at the Brisbane Exhibition today. Leading international ear tag manufacturer Allflex has joined forces with innovative Brisbane biotechnology company Genetic Solutions to introduce the Allflex DNA Tag.

 

Fast, accurate and permanent animal identification is now possible using the novel combination of an ear tag and a DNA sample collector matched with a unique code. Allflex will market the DNA collector with both traditional visual tags and electronic tags for just 60 cents more than the regular price.

 

The new product will allow the establishment of a computer data base that links animals in the field with their archived DNA sample and which can be used at any time for genetic testing or identification purposes.

 

Genetic Solutions Marketing Manager Jason Strong said the combination of an ID tag and DNA sample would complement the National Livestock Identification Scheme which aims to introduce positive tracing for all cattle. “The DNA Tag will help close the loop in animal identification,” Mr Strong said.

 

“With all parts of the tag numbered with the same ID, there is no need to write down anything when animals are being tagged. This will eliminate the possibility of human transcription error which is commonly as high as 10 percent.”

 

The operator simply clips on the tag and encloses a sample of hair follicles from the animal’s tail in the collector. A reply-paid envelope is included to dispatch the samples to Genetic Solutions.

 

Stored samples can be used for a range of Genetic Solutions tests at any time. The company has introduced the world’s first GeneSTAR®. diagnostic tests for beef tenderness and marbling and offers the parentage verification service SireTRACE. “We expect there will be new DNA tests introduced in the future as the technology develops” said Mr Strong

 

Allflex Australasia Chief Executive Officer Michael Connole said the DNA Tag would be marketed throughout Australia and New Zealand giving producers in the region a competitive edge in meeting consumer demands for product integrity.

 

“Our company is the world leader in animal identification and we have been working towards a simple and cost effective system of integrating animal identification with DNA technology for a number of years”, he said. “Genetic Solutions technology has provided the breakthrough that has enabled this to be delivered”

 

“We have also been liasing closely with the National Livestock Identification Scheme(NLIS) on the new generation tags and Allflex’s advanced manufacturing system will allow seamless integration of the relevant information into the NLIS and Genetic Solutions databases.” Mr Connole said.”

 

The DNA tag will support failsafe traceability of individual livestock in the event of a major bio-security incident such as occurred recently in the Canadian beef industry.

 

For further information contact

Jason Strong at Genetic Solutions on 07 3633 3555 or 0418 658 887.

Michael Connole at Allflex on 07 3245 9100 or 0402 892 770.

 

June 2003 – Packing More Beef in Your Genes

Two of the world’s biggest pastoral companies have signed a deal with a Brisbane based genetic information company to develop new DNA markers for desirable beef traits such as tenderness and marbling. Australia’s rural giant, Stanbroke Pastoral Company, and the famous King Ranch in the United States have signed an important new research agreement that enables Genetic Solutions to evaluate new gene markers for tenderness and marbling as well as retail meat yield and feed efficiency.

 

Genetic Solutions is a world leader in DNA marker technology for beef cattle. DNA markers allow cattle producers to identify cattle at an early age as to whether they have desirable production and meat quality traits.

 

Stanbroke Pastoral Company is Australia’s largest cattle and beef producer with 27 properties stretching across 12 million hectares in Queensland and the Northern Territory. Stanbroke’s managing director, John Cox, said the company was excited to be an integral part of the research that could have industry-wide ramifications. “Stanbroke has been a dedicated user of DNA technology for some time,” Mr Cox said.

 

“This agreement will enable Stanbroke to preview emerging gene marker technology and evaluate it under our own production and management systems. “What it will also mean for us as a business, is that by being part of the process, we can fast track the commercial evaluation of new gene markers for productivity and meat quality, and therefore become more efficient in our practices and improve our ability to consistently deliver beef to customer requirements.”

 

Genetic Solutions Managing Director, Gerard Davis, said Stanbroke was an ideal partner for the project as it is the largest fully-integrated cattle and beef company in Australia. “Stanbroke utilises a variety of cattle breeds and production systems and is well placed to be able to undertake research like this,” Dr Davis said. “But its not just the producers who will benefit from the new technology – in the end it is the consumer who will be able to be guaranteed, for example, a consistently tender and juicy steak.”

 

King Ranch general manager, Paul Genho, said he believed DNA technology offered great potential for the beef industry. “King Ranch has already made extensive use of GeneSTAR marbling and tenderness markers in our breeding program,” Dr Genho said. “Future research projects will address important issues for beef consumers and we are pleased to be part of, and reap the benefits of, this scientific discovery process.”

For more information contact:

Ella Riggert

Stanbroke Pastoral Company

07 3251 8126

Jay Hetzel

Genetic Solutions

07 3633 3502

 

May 2003 – Genetic Solutions receives “Excellence in Innovation” Award

 

Back: Hon Peter Staley (Chairman, CRC Association)

Front L-R: Mr Peter Frawley (Chairman, CRC for Cattle and Beef Quality), Mr Arthur Rickards (ABRI – BREEDPLAN), Hon John Howard MP (Prime Minister), Dr Gerard Davis (Genetic Solutions – GeneSTAR), Prof Bernie Bindon (CEO, CRC for Cattle and Beef Quality).

 

Dr Gerard Davis, Managing Director of Genetic Solutions accepted an award for “Excellence in Innovation” from the Prime Minister, the Hon John Howard at a Gala Presentation Dinner at the Great Hall of Parliament in Canberra on May 27, 2003. The Award was made jointly to the Cooperative Research Centre for Cattle and Beef Quality, Genetic Solutions and the Agricultural Business Research Institute (ABRI) for four innovative technologies that each contributes to guaranteeing beef tenderness. The technologies have been developed through research conducted by the Beef CRC and are now being delivered to industry by Genetic Solutions and ABRI.

“It is truly an honour for Genetic Solutions to receive this Award and it is a pleasure to do so with our colleagues in the Beef CRC” said Dr Davis.

“The Award clearly recognises not only the quality of the research carried out by the Beef CRC, but also the successful commercialisation of these technologies” added Dr Davis.

The four technologies recognised by the Award are:

  • CRC Progeny Tests (Straightbreeding and Crossbreeding Projects) that identified the genetic and non-genetic factors affecting beef tenderness. Results from the Progeny Tests are now being delivered to industry through BREEDPLAN and Meat Standards Australia.
  • The effect of grain-finishing on improved beef tenderness, adopted by the Australian feedlot industry and beef retailers who promote grain-finished beef as a way of guaranteeing beef tenderness.
  • Flight Time ~ a simple, on-farm test that can be used early in an animal’s life to indirectly improve beef tenderness. Ruddweigh Australasia have commercialised the flight time machine. Beef producers can use BREEDPLAN EBVs for flight time to directly improve the temperament of their breeding stock and indirectly improve the tenderness of their progeny
  • GeneSTAR Tenderness ~ a diagnostic DNA test that identifies animals carrying favourable and unfavourable forms of a gene that affects beef tenderness. This test has been commercialised as GeneSTAR Tenderness by the CRC’s commercial partner, Genetic Solutions Pty Ltd.

 

For further information:

Dr Gerard Davis

Genetic Solutions

Ph: 07 3633 3555

 

April 2003 – Jay Hetzel named 2003 Beef Achiever

World-renowned genetic scientist Jay Hetzel has been named the Australian Beef Industry Achiever of the Year. Dr Hetzel was selected from an outstanding field of candidates at Beef 2003 in Rockhampton. He was presented with the award, sponsored by Queensland Country Life, at a dinner attended by several hundred people in the beef capital last night (April 28).

 

Dr Hetzel was honoured for his distinguished scientific career which is having a profound influence on the international beef industry.He is co-founder and Scientific Director of the Brisbane-based company Genetic Solutions which released the world’s first genetic test for beef tenderness at the end of last year.

 

Dr Hetzel established his reputation as a pioneer in the field of human genetics with Australia’s leading research organisation, CSIRO. He founded the CSIRO Molecular Human Genetics Centre at St Lucia in Brisbane in 1992 and led the team that produced the world’s first comprehensive bovine genetic map.

 

Building on the breakthrough work in genetic mapping, Dr Hetzel and his colleagues focused on isolating genes with economically important traits in cattle. In conjunction with the Cattle and Beef Industries Cooperative Research Centre, a large number of genes associated with marbling, yield, tenderness, growth and parasite resistance in cattle were mapped and validated.

 

Identifying the need to bridge the gap between science and the business of beef production, Dr Hetzel and his colleague Dr Gerard Davis left CSIRO in 1998 and founded Genetic Solutions. The company specialises in the commercialisation of DNA technologies, principally for application in the beef industry.

 

Genetic Solutions has introduced the first DNA tests, GeneSTAR Marbling and GeneSTAR Tenderness which are now being marketed to producers in Australia, North America, Europe and South Africa. More than 14000 DNA samples have now been analysed at the company’s Brisbane laboratory and under contract in the United States. Genetic Solutions technology is also used to underpin the integrity of Meat Standards Australia, a program aimed at providing consumers with consistent, high quality beef.

 

For further information, contact Jay Hetzel at Genetic Solutions

on 07 3633 3555 or 0413 045478.

 

April 2003 – Major beef tenderness screening planned

 

Droughtmaster Stud Breeders Society President John Gardner of Gidgegannup, WA, with Jay Hetzel, Genetic Solutions and Jo Hill of Castletower Droughtmaster Stud, Calliope and prize winning female at Beef 2003 Castletower Delilah.

The family which pioneered the Droughtmaster breed in Australia is set to embark on a major genetic screening for beef tenderness. In a vote of confidence for the world-leading DNA technology, Alan Atkinson aims to assess the GeneSTAR tenderness ranking of 300 sires across the family’s three studs in Central Queensland.

 

“We’ll start with 150 working bulls and go from there. I’d like to get a quick assessment and I’m confident we’ll get good results,” Mr Atkinson said at Beef 2003 in Rockhampton this week. “The Droughtmaster breed is going from strength to strength and I can see the future benefits from early adoption of this new technology,” Mr Atkinson said.

 

Brahman breeders have also been quick to embrace the GeneSTAR tenderness test with hundreds of DNA sample kits distributed through the Australian Brahman Breeders Association. Les and Helen Donald of El-Ja stud at Theodore were pleased to receive a test kit for their prize winning cow El-Ja Krissy Manso at Beef 2003. Mr Donald said he was planning to have a selection of key sires and embryo transfer donor cows in his large stud herd of 2000 cattle assessed for GeneSTAR tenderness. “We should be taking advantage of this technology to lift the quality of our stock and help improve beef sales,” Mr Donald said.

 

The GeneSTAR beef tenderness test was launched internationally late last year by Brisbane company Genetic Solutions and already more than 4000 DNA samples have been analysed. The test identifies a variant of the naturally occurring calpastatin gene with animals given a rating – 2 star, 1 star or 0-star – indicating how many copies they have of the tender form of the gene.

 

 

The company offered GeneSTAR tests as prizes at Beef 2003 in breeds which have entered discount testing agreements for their members, including Brahmans, Droughtmasters, Angus, Shorthorn, Hereford and Simmental.

 

Mr Strong, Marketing Manager for Genetic Solutions said he was delighted with the rapid up-take of the new GeneSTAR test by leading seedstock producers in Australia, North America, Europe and South Africa. “The feedback we’ve had from producers at Beef 2003 has been excellent. People are enthusiastic about GeneSTAR technology which for the first time offers an objective way to improve the eating experience for beef consumers. The ambitious testing program planned by the Atkinson family is just another example of their leadership role in the cattle industry,” Mr Strong said.

 

Alan Atkinson said bulls would be assessed for GeneSTAR tenderness at three family Droughtmaster herds, Mungalla Stud at Taroom, Lamont Stud at Clermont and The Valley Stud at Nebo. Mr Atkinson is the son of the Droughtmaster breed founder Monty Atkinson who began a crossbreeding program with Brahman bulls early last century and established Mungalla Stud at Ingham. “This genetic test has been a great discovery and I am keen to take advantage of it and assess a big number of our cattle,” Mr Atkinson said.

 

The Droughtmaster Stud Breeders Society President John Gardner is another early adopter of GeneSTAR testing in his stud Sunnyvale at Gidgegannup in Western Australia. Mr Gardner tested his three main stud sires and was delighted when they all returned the maximum two-star tenderness ranking. “This technology is very important to our industry because it will allow us to produce more consistent and predictable quality beef, something which consumers are demanding,” Mr Gardner said. “As stud breeders, we can use this scientific tool to improve the bulls we supply to our clients.”

 

For further information, contact Jason Strong at Genetic Solutions

on 07 3633 3555 or 0418 658887.

 

GeneSTAR technology takes off

The genetic testing of cattle for meat tenderness is taking off with more than 5,000 DNA samples analysed since the Australian technology was launched world-wide at the end of last year. Brisbane company Genetic Solutions is leading the way with objective tests to identify cattle that have desirable meat traits of tenderness and marbling. The tests are being rapidly adopted by leading seedstock producers around Australia, North America, Europe and South Africa with DNA samples analysed in Brisbane and under contract in the United States.

 

Major beef breed societies in Australia including Brahman, Droughtmaster, Angus, Simmental, Shorthorn and Hereford have embraced the technology with agreements to distribute test kits to their members at special discount rates. As part of the agreements, the societies also benefit from feedback of test results to build a data base on the tenderness and marbling status of their breed.

 

The latest GeneSTAR tenderness test identifies a variant of the naturally occurring calpastatin gene with animals given a rating – 2-star, 1-star or 0-star – indicating how many copies they have of the tender form of the gene. Genetic Solutions Marketing Manager Jason Strong said US producers had been very quick to take advantage of the technology and already two star test results were being used in marketing campaigns by some leading studs.

 

Genetic Solutions will have a strong presence at Beef 2003 in Rockhampton at the end of April. Visitors will gain a valuable insight into the DNA technology which is helping deliver a great eating experience to consumers. Mr Strong said Beef 2003 was an ideal venue for the company to introduce its leading edge technology to a wide cross section of the beef industry.

 

As a special promotion at Beef 2003, selected class champions will be rewarded with GeneSTAR tenderness and marbling tests.

Australian Brahman Breeders Association General Manager John Croaker said the second batch of 500 test kits was now being distributed to members. “Early tests are returning a higher percentage of 2 star results than the development research indicated which is pleasing. This test provides an opportunity to address one of the important issues for beef consumers and we are keen to take advantage of the benefits of this positive science,” Mr Croaker said.

 

Droughtmaster Stud Breeders Society National Operations Manager Neil Donaldson said members were enthusiastic about the new tender beef test. “One of our members is looking at testing 300 bulls and kits have already gone as far as Western Australia,” Mr Donaldson said. Members who have had animals tested for the marbling gene are able to use the same stored DNA sample for a tenderness test.”

 

“Seedstock producers have a responsibility to embrace this technology to help the consumer get a tender piece of beef. It will also be a good marketing tool for studs. Being able to focus on 2 star animals and take the 0 stars out is a step in the right direction. We’ll certainly be encouraging the use of this technology to get a substantial number of tests through so we can get a picture of where the Droughtmaster breed stands,” Mr Donaldson said.

 

For further information contact

Jason Strong, Genetic Solutions, on 07 3663 3555 or 0418 658 887

John Croaker, Australian Brahman Breeders on 07 4927 7799

Neil Donaldson, Droughtmaster Stud Breeders Society on 07 3378 3040

 

Genetic Solutions Expands North American Team

 

Genetic Solutions North America Marketing and Business Development Manager, Tom Corah

 

Tom Corah has been named Marketing and Business Development Manager of Genetic Solutions, LLC. The livestock genomics company based in Lafayette Colorado offers a range of DNA diagnostic tests and services to the beef industry, including tests for marbling, tenderness and farm-to-fork traceability.

 

“What excites me most is having the opportunity to offer DNA technology to beef producers, technology proven to work and build value,” says Corah. Already, he points out DNA profiles defined by Genetic Solutions’ GeneSTAR Marbling® and GeneSTAR Tenderness® tests have contributed significant value to some seedstock. As time goes on, more commercial producers are requesting these DNA profiles from their seedstock suppliers, too.

 

“We always talk about premiums and discounts in the cattle business, but sometimes the most valuable premium producers can receive is the ability to market cattle when they choose. Technologies like those offered by Genetic Solutions raise the standard and provide users a competitive advantage in the marketplace.” says Corah.

 

Armed with a Bachelor’s Degree in Agricultural Economics from Kansas State University and a Masters Degree in Meat Science from Colorado State University, Corah has spent the past decade helping grow producer knowledge and adoption of cattle-specific biologic and information technologies. He’s done so by focusing first on building relationships with the people who can benefit from using new technology.

 

As Marketing and Business Development Manager, Corah will develop and oversee the company’s North American marketing and business development strategies. “Like our customers, we believe in expanding our business based on demand, and then only when we can do so with the right people and the right tools,” says Gerard Davis, Genetic Solutions’ Chief Executive Officer. “We’re pleased that increasing demand has called for expansion of our business and that we could attract someone of the caliber of Tom Corah. In addition to his hands-on experience within beef production, he brings a proven track record for helping cattle producers employ new technologies to their benefit.”

 

Corah can be contacted at Genetic Solutions’ Colorado office: tom.corah@geneticsolutions.com.au or 720-890-2832.

 

Genetic Solutions Appoints New Chairman

 

Genetic Solutions Board L to R: Gerard Davis, Mel Bridges, Jay Hetzel

 

Brisbane-based biotech company, Genetic Solutions today announced the appointment of Mr Mel Bridges as its new independent chairman. Genetic Solutions is a developer, manufacturer and marketer of leading edge DNA-based technology to the meat and livestock industries.

 

Mr Bridges will lead the company through a major growth phase with patented diagnostic tests and traceability products now being marketed around Australia and worldwide. The company has a strong focus in the U.S., Japanese and European markets.

 

Genetic Solutions was established four years ago to bridge the gap between multi-million dollar genomics research programs and the commercial marketplace. The company works in close collaboration with leading industry and government scientists to develop gene-based diagnostic tools. An agreement was reached late last year to market the world’s first test for tender beef.

 

An expert in the fields of biotechnology and diagnostics, Mr Bridges is well qualified for his role at Genetic Solutions, with more than 25 years experience in the diagnostics industry. Born on the Darling Downs where he played representative rugby, Mr Bridges studied for an Applied Science degree and trained as an industrial chemist.

 

He has co-founded and managed a number of successful biotech, healthcare and medical device companies. A Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, he has sat, or currently sits, on the boards of ASX listed PANBIO, the Cooperative Research Centre for Diagnostics, Diatech, Impedimed, and was recently appointed chairman of ASX listed drug developer, Peptech Ltd.

 

He is a member of the Queensland Government Biotech Advisory Council and a member of the judging panel for the Australian Export Awards. Mr Bridges co-founded PANBIO in 1988. One of Australia’s diagnostic success stories, the company listed on the Australian Stock Exchange in April 2001 after a $17 million capital raising. Brisbane-based PANBIO has successfully built a manufacturing facility in the United States and a distribution network covering more than 65 countries.

 

Cofounder and Director of Genetic Solutions, Dr Jay Hetzel, said he was delighted with the appointment of a chairman of the calibre of Mel Bridges. “Diagnostic science is our core business and Mel’s knowledge in this specialist field will be extremely valuable to the company. His export experience will also be an asset to Genetic Solutions as we take our world leading technology into key overseas markets,” Dr Hetzel said.

 

Mr Bridges said, “I am genuinely excited by the challenges ahead. Genetic Solutions is ideally placed to take a global market leadership position in the fast growing area of DNA-based testing related to the beef and livestock industries,” he added.

 

Genetic Solutions is fast tracking plans to position itself as the premier global provider of livestock DNA-based diagnostic products, screening and testing services.

 

For further information, contact:

Dr Jay Hetzel

Scientific Director

Genetic Solutions Pty Ltd

Tel.: 07 3633 3502

Mobile: 0413 045478.

Genetic Solutions Pty. Ltd.

PO Box 145 Albion QLD 4010 Australia

Phone: +61 7 3633 3555 – Fax: +61 7 3633 3500

Email: enquiries@geneticsolutions.com.au