GeneSeek and Embruon, How They Work Together

(Sam Capoun) Hello and welcome to AGam in Kansas. I’m your guest host Sam Capoun and today we’re at the BIF Convention in Manhattan, Kansas. And I’m here with Stewart Bauck. So Stewart, tell us a little bit about what you do in your job duties. (Stewart Bauck) Okay, well thank you. I am with a company called GeneSeek and we are the world’s largest genomics testing facility; located in Lincoln, Nebraska, of all places. And the job that we do is we take a small sample, a hair sample, a little bit of tissue, perhaps a blood sample. We extract cellular material and DNA and we do a genomic analysis on that sample; and from the genomic information we are able to determine the genetic merit of that animal, for it’s future breeding purposes. (Sam) So Matt, I understand that you have this new business. (Matt Barten) Embruon. (Sam) Embruon. Tell us a little bit about it. (Matt) It’s basically a business where I receive embryos from embryo practitioners, be it In Vivo or In Vitro derived. And I can take a little biopsy of the embryo and we can do several things; we can tell you the sex, or if it’s a carrier of a recessive trait, or a full genomic background of what that calf would be, if it makes a pregnancy. (Sam) So how do you work with businesses like Embruon? (Stewart) So, well, they are a great and very interesting customer. So what they do is, they take an embryo and they take some of the cells out of that embryo. They send it to us. We apply a chemical procedure that allows us to make thousands and thousands and thousands of copies of the DNA. And once we have the DNA amplified up we genotype the DNA, and we genotype it to create the genetic evaluation. (Sam) So why should ranchers or producers want to come and seek this opportunity? (Matt) For the seed-stock producer, it would be attractive to know the sex of the embryo. (Sam) Definitely. (Matt) Or to know if it’s a carrier of a recessive trait, if it’s a really high pedigree donor that you don’t want to move along with the carrier embryos that she might produce. From a genomic standpoint, with the full genomic background, you could look at embryos and say, maybe take the bottom third that don’t genetically match what you’re chasing, and not put those in and not tie up the resources of a recipient animal for nine months which, in an embryo operation, the hardest, most finite part to put together is the recipient herd. (Stewart) So, think about this: the technology allows you to take a few cells from an embryo that’s just a few days old. (Sam) That’s crazy. (Stewart) And with the technology, you will be able to make a prediction about the genetic merit of that animal that’s equal to: growing it up, bringing it to some heifers and raising their progeny for the evaluation. We save literally years’ worth of time and thousands and thousands of dollar’s worth of investment. (Sam) And what are the costs? (Matt) Typically it’s going to add about $150 per embryo, give or take, to your day’s production. (Sam) And then how long does it take to get the results back, when you test it? (Matt) Typically 14 days. (Sam) 14 days, so that’s a pretty quick turn-around then. (Matt) They do a good job at the lab. (Sam) So with this great technology and all the great tools it has, do you see an increase in the future, that more people start using it? (Stewart) It’s just been an absolute explosion of technology. If I were to tell you about what comes in our back doors, it’s an exponential growth. Part of that is because the cost of the technology to the individual producer is coming down. I oftentimes say to people, In what universe does it makes sense that somebody can send me a tail-hair sample covered in manure, and in 14 days and for less than $15 I will query the very essence of life and tell them about the future breeding potential of that animal? It makes no sense. But those things all contribute to a broad-scale adoption of the technology because it’s so powerful for the benefits it can provide. (Sam) Well thanks for joining us today, Stewart. (Stewart) My pleasure. Thank you for interviewing me.

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