The Sci-Files – 4/12/2020 – Kaitlyn Daza – Genetics and the Swine Industry

Chelsie Boodoo and Daniel Puentes

On this week’s The Sci-Files, your hosts Chelsie and Danny interview Kaitlyn Daza. Kaitlyn is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Animal Breeding and Genetics Group at the MSU Department of Animal Science.

Kaitlyn Daza in lab
Kaitlyn Daza in lab

You may have heard the statistic that by the year 2050, the global population is projected to hit 9 billion people, and we will need to vastly increase our food production to meet that demand and feed the world. This intimidating statistic brings challenges to many industries, including animal agriculture. One of the best methods we’ll have to increase the productivity and efficiency of food production in both plants and animals will be through advances in genetic technologies and selection techniques. Kaitlyn’s work focuses on understanding the genetic regulation of complex production traits like growth, meat quality, and carcass composition phenotypes in pigs using genome-wide association analyses of microRNA expression. Current wet-lab experiments are investigating mechanisms connecting miRNA, gene, and phenotypic expression affecting these traits that are critical to the success of our Swine Industry. 

While developing these skills, she has recognized a growing apprehension from the public regarding the use of novel genetic technologies in food production. Consumers grow increasingly interested in how their food is produced, but having been removed from the production process so greatly they often lack the understanding to see the benefits of modern agricultural techniques. It’s critical to our industry’s progress that consumers and regulatory officials be involved in the development and integration of genetic technologies in food production; without their support, we will continue to face issues of public perception and setbacks in technological development as an industry.

If you’re interested in talking about your MSU research on the radio or nominating a student, please email Chelsie and Danny at [email protected]. You can ask questions about future episodes here. Check The Sci-Files out on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube