How will livestock react to global warming?

Researchers from The University of Western Australia Institute of Agriculture and Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (KVASU) in the south-west region of India are working together to determine the physiological and genetic basis for adaptation in animals as a response to increasing global temperatures.

Using modern techniques such as gene and protein expression profiling that may help in the selection of livestock to improve production, the researchers are working to eventually manage the impact of heat stress in millions of livestock in tropical regions maintained mostly on small farms.

On their first visit to UWA, KVASU specialist in animal genetics Dr E M Muhammed and livestock production management specialist Dr A Prasad received hands-on training in the physiological and molecular aspects of heat and/or thermal stress.

Renowned physiologist Professor Shane Maloney from UWA’s School of Anatomy, Physiology and Human Biology is leading the project.

“Early results indicate that the heat acclimation process is a combination of physiological, hormonal and genetic reprograming which needs further exploration at a molecular level, Professor Maloney said.  “The findings will also help develop a large animal model for measuring physiological, biochemical and cellular responses during stress.”

The project is being funded by the Crawford Fund, UWA Institute of Agriculture and KVASU.

The study is part of a larger collaboration between UWA and KVASU established by UWA’s highly acclaimed experts in global food security, Hackett Professor Kadambot Siddique and Winthrop Professor Graeme Martin.

Senior members of KVASU Executive will visit UWA from 30 September to 4 October 2013 to discuss future collaboration and developing new generation education and research programs in animal production.

Caption:  Left to right:   Dr E M Muhammed, Professor Shane Maloney and Dr A Prasad undertaking animal physiology experiments at UWA.

Media references

Professor Shane Maloney (UWA School of Anatomy, Physiology and Human Biology and UWA Institute of Agriculture)  (+61 8)  6488 3394 /  (+61 4) 12 540 798
Michael Sinclair-Jones (UWA Public Affairs)  (+61 8)  6488 3229  /  (+61 4) 00 700 783