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EGENIS seminar: "Lambs to the scanner: high-throughput phenotyping in post-Brexit British livestock farming", Dr Hugh Williamson (University of Exeter)

Egenis seminar series

High-throughput phenotyping, the use of digital sensing and imaging technologies to collect large volumes of data about organisms’ traits for biological research and breeding, is now well established in the science and cultivation of arable crops but has been slower to take root in the livestock research and breeding sector.

Event details

Building on interviews and focus groups with scientists, animal breeders and farmers conducted as part of a project on digital transformation in British animal farming, this talk explores some of the faultlines emerging around existing and potential uses of high-throughput phenotyping for livestock breeding in Britain and what they reflect about the conditions of animal agriculture after Brexit. The talk will begin by analysing the epistemic economy of livestock breeding, including, first, the construction of genetic indicators for breeding through quantitative genetic practices and, second, the generation and circulation of phenotyping data. I will then explore a range of stakeholder attitudes to the technologies and purposes of high-throughout phenotyping, focusing on the cases of X-ray CT scanning of sheep and the integration of diverse phenotypic and genomic data in a national, public database for animal breeding. I conclude by drawing some comparisons to the epistemic economy of crop science data at the global level.

Register here

Venue: Byrne House, Streatham Campus (places limited)

Virtual: via Zoom