Interaction Between Nutrition & Genetics – Dr. Tom Rathje and Dr. Jason Schneider both with DNA Genetics


Dr. Tom Rathje and Dr. Jason Schneider both with DNA Genetics

Episode : 39 Interaction Between Nutrition & Genetics

Podcast Topic

Today’s episode dives into the genetic advancements made in the swine industry and the impact those advancements have on all other parameters. Joining us to help dig into this genetics topic are Dr. Tom Rathje and Dr. Jason Schneider, both with DNA Genetics.


Dr. Rathje spoke about how genetic change has accelerated in recent years due to the adoption of genomic selection, which improves the accuracy with which we identify a superior animal. You use that information to decide which animals are retained to reproduce. (8:23)

Dr. Schneider mentioned that with genetic makeup changing, the nutritional needs for swine are changing as well. He said amino acids are ratioed off of lysine, and the assumption is if lysine levels are correct, you’re in the ballpark. But different breeds have different feed intakes and performances in lean gain, so changes to nutrition are coming. (17:38)

Dr. Rathje discussed that labor is always discussed as a big challenge in the swine industry, so we have to produce an animal that is more self-sufficient and able to produce and wean pigs on her own. The 14, 14, 21 program was designed to identify sows that have the ability to wean 14, 14lb pigs for 21 days on her own. (26:25).

Dr. Schneider said the largest sustainability area we can increase is reducing mortality. If we can increase survivability through our genetic selection index, it’s a huge saver in less inputs to create the same amount of product. (46:56)

Dr. Rathje wrapped up by saying research is taking place that looks at the activation of a pig’s immune system and looks at the genes that might turn on. Now we have to figure out how to implement the knowledge. (51:40)

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This podcast is sponsored by Balchem Animal Nutrition and Health.

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