• State Help / Find a Processor

    Looking for a USDA inspected processor for red meat or poultry? See the USDA Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) database here. You can search by plant name, state, type of processing, and other parameters. more »
  • Inbreeding and Outbreeding: The Pros and Cons of Both

    Inbreeding is the mating of closely related animals to increase homozygosity within a population. Common alleles become more concentrated — the gene frequency increases in other words — and animals become more and more closely related with each generation. The reliability of high performing animals producing more high performing animals becomes very predictable. It sounds like the only breeding approach you’ll ever need, but there can be consequences. Outbreeding on the other hand increases heterozygosity by mating unrelated animals. New alleles are introduced and the gene pool widens. From this and the Hardy-Weinberg Equilibrium, it would appear that a breeding programme would go nowhere fast were it to rely solely on outbreeding. Yet there can be benefits. more »
  • Alpaca – Leading the Way?

    Alpaca numbers in Australia are estimated to be between 170,000 and 450,000, with the higher estimate considerable in view that the sheep flock only numbers around 70 million. Wool ranging from 24 through to 26.8 micron is blended with alpaca. The combination of alpaca numbers and some relationship of the alpaca fibre to wool are behind this brief look into this ancient luxury fibre. more »
  • Random Genetic Drift

    Last week’s post on The Hardy-Weinberg Equlibrium and its Implications covered the five external forces that shift that equilibrium to cause a change in gene and genotypic frequencies: selection; gene mutations; migration in and out of a population; random genetic drift; and non-random matings. Three of these are controllable by breeders and routinely applied in breeding programmes: selection; migration in and out; and non-random matings. The other two — gene mutations and random genetic drift — are completely random forces beyond anyone’s control, and patterns of inheritance are ultimately down to the sheer chance of gene segregation during meiosis and ‘luck of the draw’. Gene mutations are extremely rare events and, should they even occur at all, are as likely to have good, bad or indifferent effects . Any mutation that does appear is most likely to be of a single allele, as the chance of two or more mutations occurring simultaneously, much less being inherited together, is even more remote. Such an allele, or any other rare allele for that matter, may then be subject to that other random force: random genetic drift. more »
  • The Hardy-Weinberg Equlibrium and its Implications

    Last week we saw how crossbreeding — or more accurately, random matings and/or matings between unrelated populations — do not change gene and genotypic frequencies from generation to generation. This phenomenon is known as the Hardy-Weinberg Equlibrium, named after its co-discovers the English mathematician Godfrey Hardy and the German obstetrician-gynecologist Wilhelm Weinberg. The Hardy-Weinberg Equilbrium states that gene and genotypic frequencies will not change from generation to generation, assuming random matings in the absence of external forces. It further states that, given two alleles at a locus with gene frequencies p and q within a population, that the genotypic frequencies of those alleles will be P = p2, H = 2pq, and Q = q2. more »