March 28, 2008
March 28, 2008 - U.S. based Pfizer Animal Health is buying a New Zealand company that has expertise in livestock genetics. Pfizer will acquire Catapult Genetics Pty Ltd.
Catapult was launched to commercialize its DNA markers and diagnostic products. It has also commercialized genes that identify muscling traits, parasite susceptibility, fertility and an eye disorder. With funding from the New Zealand government, Catapult has indicated that is will be working to validate diagnostic genetic markers in new markets and new large-animal species, to allow breeders to screen for traits such as increased fertility and disease resistance.
Pfizer said Catapult is developing and commercializing innovative livestock DNA tests and gene markers and is a global leader in sheep and cattle testing technologies for meat and carcass quality and production efficiency.
The International Sheep Genomics Consortium announced in January the completion of the virtual DNA map of the sheep genome. This moved the sheep industry one step closer to pinpointing the genetic controls for economically important production traits. This breakthrough will allow more breeding success for improved wool, enhanced carcass quality, increased fertility and the ability to cope with parasites.
The consortium is a partnership of scientists and funding agencies from the United States, Australia, France, Kenya, New Zealand and United Kingdom who have come together to develop public genomic resources that will help researchers find genes associated with production, quality and disease traits in sheep.
Investments in genomic technology from gene discovery to sequenced genomes have animal agriculture poised at the threshold of the genetic genomic revolution. Application of new genomic technologies by sheep producers will improve the health, efficiency, sustainability and biosecurity of animal production.