Arkansas-based Cobb-Vantress and Hendrix Genetics in Boxmeer, the Netherlands, have signed their third consecutive Joint Development Agreement (JDA). Both companies will continue to investigate the fast-growing field of chicken genomics together and develop the next generation genomic selection tools for the benefit of both companies.
Cobb-Vantress and Hendrix Genetics set up their first JDA in 2008 and, after seven years of successful partnering in research and development, they are convinced there is much more to discover with new genomic selection tools. The unique industry collaboration stimulates synergy and insight within and between the teams that can contribute to improved breeding programs and increased global production of safe, sufficient, secure food.
Dr. Mitch Abrahamsen, senior vice president of R&D at Cobb-Vantress, said, “The joint efforts of the Hendrix and Cobb R&D teams have provided more scale to our research program and delivered surprising new insights over the years. Although the basics of breeding and genomics apply to most animal sectors, it helps to exchange knowledge across species and breeding programs.”
Dr. Gerard Albers, chief technology and innovation officer at Hendrix Genetics, said, “The basic idea we had seven years ago to start sharing information and promoting our expertise has proven to be very successful. Our researchers are working side-by-side as one team exploring the chicken genome.”
A clear example of the success of the last JDA is the development of a cutting-edge SNP Chip for chickens, a tiny glass slide that can analyze some 60,000 variations in DNA sequences — or Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) — which act as genetic markers and are specifically targeted to Cobb and Hendrix chicken breeding lines.
Cobb-Vantress and Hendrix Genetics also partner in the Dutch research consortium Breed4Food. Together with other Dutch breeding companies, this consortium is focused on development of novel genetics and genomics tools through innovative science, beneficial to the breeding, production and consumption of animal proteins with a strong commitment to responsible stewardship of animal resources.