• The Australian alpaca industry has been through the speculative stage of new industry development and has emerged with a much more professional focus. Alpaca is classified as ‘maturing’ and growth prospects are described as ‘neutral to positive’. Fibre production has increased from 102 tonnes in 2006-07 to 242 tonnes in 2015-16. Meat production has emerged as a serious addition to commercial enterprises –32 tonnes of alpaca meat were marketed to restaurants in 2015-16 and strong future growth is forecast. When returns from stud animal sales, including export, fibre and meat are added into the production mix industry has the potential to be profitable. more »
  • Cross-section of wool fibre showing paracortical and orthocortical cells – the arrangement of the cells creates the crimp in wool. more »
  • The crimp of wool, or the frequency of waves in a wool staple, has been a vital part of the selection of Merino rams and ewes from the early days. Dr Ian Purvis, manager of Program 1 has been studying crimp as part of the Fine Wool Project and reflects on its changing importance in modern wool science. This article is based on a report that he presented in the CSIRO Fine Wool Newsletter. more »
  • We can easily identify homozygous recessive genotypes and partially-dominant traits simply by looking at the phenotypes of the progeny. Identifying carriers of recessive alleles isn’t as simple, as recessive alleles are hidden — the phenotype of an ‘AA’ animal is indistinguishable from that of an ‘Aa’ animal. The purpose of test matings is to identify carriers of recessive alleles by forcing any such alleles that may be present to appear in progeny. It takes just one such progeny to be born to show without doubt that the tested parent is indeed a carrier. But as there is no guarantee of such a birth, it is more a matter of knowing how many offspring must be born to be sure that the tested animal is definitively not a carrier. more »
  • Consider any species that typically gives birth to one offspring per mating, and that within that species is any simply-inherited trait with a dominant ‘A’ allele and a recessive ‘a’ allele. Now consider four individuals of that species, all with known genotypes: a heterozygous dominant male (’Aa’), a homozygous dominant female (’AA’), a heterozygous dominant female (’Aa’), and a homozygous recessive female (’aa’). Assume a genetic test doesn’t exist. The mating outcomes of the male over each of these females can be summarised as: more »