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Gene map to aid understanding of sheep health
Rambouillet sheep are known for their high-quality fleece and for being able to live in harsh conditions.

Map is one of the highest resolutions in a livestock species to date.

Scientists at the University of Edinburgh’s Roslin Institute have built a genetic map of sheep that could aid understanding of key traits liked to health and food production.

The map, published in the journal Frontiers in Genetics, is one of the highest resolutions in a livestock species to date and can be used for studies into sheep health, welfare nutrition, resilience and productivity.

Researchers say that outcomes from the project could also be used to investigate how specific regions of the sheep’s genetic makeup affect their physiological and physical characteristics.
The study was conducted in collaboration with an international team, as part of the Ovine Functional Annotation of Animal Genomes (FAANG) project.

Dr Emily Clark from the Roslin Institute, said: “Sheep are hugely important farmed animals, providing a key global source of meat and fibre. The high-resolution annotation of transcription start sites in the genome that we have generated for the Ovine FAANG project will give scientists a better map of the genome upon which to base their studies.”

The map was built from a single Rambouillet sheep, a breed known for its high-quality fleece and for being able to live in harsh conditions.  Using a technique called ‘Cap Analysis Gene Expression’ (CAGE) sequencing, researchers were able to identify points in the genome where the process of switching on genes starts – known as transcription start sites.

Dr Brenda Murdoch, coordinator of the Ovine FAANG Project, University of Idaho, explained: “This research identifies the location and regulatory elements of genes that control economically important traits like health, meat and wool quality in sheep. It is this type of information that is essential to help breeding programmes select and predict traits to improve the sustainability and productivity of this globally important species."

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Special imports digital service set to change

News Story 1
 From Monday, 15 July, Special Import Certificate (SIC) applications will only be accepted via the Veterinary Medicines Directorate's (VMD's) new special imports digital service.

The original online special import scheme will be decommissioned. The VMD says that the new service is easier to use, more secure and reliable, and meets accessibility legislation.

The VMD is urging veterinary surgeons who have not yet signed up for the new service to do so before 15 July. The new digital service can be accessed here

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News Shorts
RCVS course explains concerns process

A free, online course from the RCVS Academy has been launched, designed to clarify RCVS' concerns procedure.

The content will give veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses a better understanding of the process, and what they can expect if a concern is raised about them. It includes details of common concerns.

The interactive resource has been developed in collaboration with Clare Stringfellow, case manager in the RCVS Professional Conduct Team.

Ms Stringfellow said: "We appreciate that concerns can be very worrying, and we hope that, through this course, we can give vets and nurses a better understanding of the process and how to obtain additional support."

The course can be accessed via the RCVS Academy. Users are encouraged to record their learning for CPD.