Animal bioscience plays a very important role in both the UK and global economy.
- The UK livestock industry helps to underpin much of the £70 billion UK food and drink sector and has an annual retail value itself of more than £24 billion.
- It also accounts for a large proportion of the 0.5 million people directly employed in agriculture in the UK
- The global animal health products market is worth around $12 billion per year, with the UK market alone being in the order of £190 million.
The UK has a very strong animal bioscience industry with diverse involvement in areas such as animal breeding, health, diagnostics and nutrition. For example, the UK is home to some of the global leading companies in animal breeding; supplying genetic improvement in these species across the world. Some of the biggest companies in the animal health and diagnostics sector also have significant research and manufacturing bases in the UK.
The UK is also home to internationally-renowned research organisations that are working at the cutting edge of the animal biosciences - the outputs of this research could yield huge economic and environmental opportunities for UK industry. In particular, the current rapid expansion in knowledge of the genetics of animals and their pathogens will provide unprecedented opportunities for improvement in the health, welfare and productivity of animal species.
When the pace of change is so great, even with a strong industry base, continual progress is required to remain competitive. Maintaining and strengthening the UK position is a key driver for the Animal Sector of the Biosciences KTN.
Our role is to improve the UK's innovation performance; helping UK industry take advantage of the advances in our knowledge and understanding in order for them to profit and grow.
- all domestic animal species, including all livestock species
- companion animals (e.g. dogs and cats)
- aquaculture species
- racing pigeons
- all pathogens that affect animals
The principal of selective animal breeding is based on choosing animals to become parents of the next generation based on their suitability for a defined purpose/goal, often referred to as the breeding goal.
It has been practiced continuously at an informal level since the domestication of livestock and companion animals.
Animal medicine has come a long way over the years; for both commercial and companion animals there are far more treatment options available and many conditions can be easily treated or managed. In some cases, like for inherited diseases, eradication is possible through careful selective breeding.
One of the ways the Animal Sector Team of the Biosciences KTN ensures that the UK is at the forefront of the latest research and technological developments in the area is to help secure and lead European projects funded through the EC's Framework Programme. Projects currently being led by the team are;
(Cutting Edge Genomics for
Sustainable Animal Breeding)
(From Sequence to Consequence:
Tools for the Exploitation of
(Sustainable Solutions for Small Ruminants)
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