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The research catalogue is an archive of ESRC-funded grants and outputs. Links, files and other content will no longer be maintained or updated after April 2014.

Genetics, genomics and genetic modification in agriculture: emerging knowledge-practices in making and managing farm livestock.

This project examines the implications of genetic/genomic science for livestock breeding knowledge-practices. Advances in genetic/genomic science, including genetic ‘merit’ assessments, genetic markers and genetic modification, herald a 'new era' – even a 'revolution' - in livestock breeding, according to the scientists involved. This presents opportunities for addressing important questions about the relationships between scientific and lay knowledge-practices, the restructuring of power relations and social relations and identities in agriculture, and animal-human relationships. Focusing on sheep and beef cattle, the research will examine how livestock breeding knowledge-practices and geographies of livestock breeding are being reconfigured in relation to emerging genetic/genomic knowledge-practices. Three specific objectives follow:

  1. to examine the relationships between an emerging genetic/genomic science of livestock and lay livestock breeding knowledge-practices;
  2. to assess how breeder identities, farm businesses and human-animal relationships are being affected by genetic/genomic science; and
  3. to examine the roles of different actors in emerging livestock breeding networks associated with genetic/genomic science and the circulation of genetic/genomic knowledge through these networks.

The research includes interviews and discussion groups with breeders and breed societies, interviews with institutions involved in livestock breeding, and analysis of both media reportage and events like agricultural conferences where genetic/genomic techniques are discussed.