• Camelids such as camels, llamas, and alpacas make an unusual class of antibodies with a growing number of applications in biomedical science. But researchers wanting to use those antibodies currently have to go through a lengthy and expensive procedure to extract them, limiting the molecules’ use in the lab. Now, a team of US researchers have devised a way to produce the same antibodies in yeast instead, allowing the molecules to be made and identified quickly and cheaply. The findings were published Monday (February 12) in Nature Structural and Molecular Biology. more »
  • In 2005, the alpaca became the first camelid species to have its genome sequenced, in an effort led by Dr. Warren Johnson at the National Cancer Institute. The Alpaca Genome Project, which also includes the generation of a medium-density Radiation Hybrid (RH) map for the alpaca, set the foundation for genomic studies in camelids. more »
  • Australia as a leader in the sheep industry has the experience, infrastructure, institutions, and assisted reproductive technologies required for genetic improvement of alpaca herds. With the development of artificial insemination, embryo transfer techniques, in vitro production of embryos (IVP) and the inauguration of a genetic improvement program for alpacas, it will be possible to develop a breed of extra fine Australian alpaca comparable to the alpaca kept by the Incas before the conquest in relatively few years. more »
  • In The Maths of Matings, Part 1 I promised to write a supplementary post explaining mathematical logs, and here it is! more »
  • Having gone over confidence levels, it’s time to apply that and step through some maths! Let’s now calculate confidence levels and the required number of test matings to be statistically confident that a tested animal is not a carrier of a recessive allele. Everything below assumes that the tested animal is a sire, that there is one offspring from one mating, and that all mates (dams) are of the same type for the allele of interest. That is, they are either all known carriers, or are all daughters of the tested sire, or are all randomly selected from the same population. more »