American Society Of Animal Science Recognizes Global Scope Of Virginia Tech Researcher's Work

October 29, 1998

BLACKSBURG, Va., -- When David R. Notter graduated from Southwestern High School in Gallia County, Ohio, thirty years ago he knew he wanted to work with animals, but helping provide food for growing populations worldwide never crossed his mind.

His work with animals since then has taken him from farm fields in the U.S. to China, Brazil, India, and other developing countries. Largely because of that work, Notter, a professor of animal and poultry sciences at Virginia Tech, has been awarded the prestigious American Society of Animal Science's award for breeding and genetics.

That research not only helps farmers in rural U.S., but it also helps farmers in remote foreign areas develop breeds that are uniquely suited to their environments. His work has led him to consulting work for the U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization in developing global strategies for management of livestock.

"We must have animal protein in our diets," said Notter. "When an emerging country develops economically, the most immediate thing that happens in the agriculture sector is that there is an increased demand for animal protein."

That can create pressures on the environment, the ecology, and the production system. Some of those pressures can be lessened so far as farm animals are concerned by slowly introducing new breeds to the genetic pool of animals already in the country.

"Every valley and mountain at one time had its own breed of chicken or sheep or whatever," Notter said. "But now the same breed of chicken is sold all over the world."

The creation of a few breeds of animals that do exceptionally well in the U. S. or in other developed countries doesn't mean those breeds will do well in other areas. The pressure to introduce those breeds into other cultures should be resisted, he said.

"We are far better off to incrementally improve the existing livestock rather than introduce new breeds into different environments," Notter said. "The breeds that are there have adapted to the local conditions. If we just bring in breeds from alien environments, we stand the chance of losing genetic resources that have developed over many generations. We also stand the chance of that introduced breed failing in an environment to which it is not suited."

Notter's specialty is the genetic management of beef cattle and sheep. The underlying theme of this work has been the genetic control of reproductive traits with the aim of developing trouble-free animals as well as animals that are more productive. Much of his work falls into the category of basic research, which adds to the foundation of knowledge of a subject. Other parts of his work, however, are applied research, or research in ways to make basic understanding directly useful to producers.

"I enjoy doing applied, producer-applicable research," Notter said. "I like working to help farmers select the best animals."

Notter is a native of Gallia County, Ohio, located in the southern part of the state. He is the son of Russell and Edna Notter. He earned a bachelor's degree from Ohio State University in animal science in 1972, and a master's and doctoral degree from the University of Nebraska in 1977

He has conducted a broad range of research since joining the Virginia Tech faculty in 1977, including the study of the genetic control of seasonal breeding in sheep and identifying strategies for predicting genetic merit in livestock improvement programs.

His recent accomplishments include introduction of across-breed genetic evaluation procedures for beef cattle, creation of a line of sheep with reduced seasonality of breeding, and development of the first across-flock genetic evaluations for U.S. sheep breeds.
CONTACT: Stewart MacInnis (540) 231-5863

Virginia Tech

Related Breeding Articles from Brightsurf:

Novel haplotype-led approach to increase the precision of wheat breeding
Wheat researchers at the John Innes Centre are pioneering a new technique that promises to improve gene discovery for the globally important crop.

Climate-adapted plant breeding
Securing plant production is a global task. Using a combination of new molecular and statistical methods, a research team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) was able to show that material from gene banks can be used to improve traits in the maize plant.

Shorebirds more likely to divorce after successful breeding
Research led by the Milner Centre for Evolution at the University of Bath found that a range of factors affected the fidelity and parenting behaviour of plovers, rather than being defined by the species.

Researchers help inform cassava breeding worldwide
Scientists in Cornell University's NextGen Cassava project have uncovered new details regarding cassava's genetic architecture that may help breeders more easily pinpoint traits for one of Africa's key crops.

Declining US plant breeding programs impacts food security
Decreasing access to funding, technology, and knowledge in U.S. plant breeding programs could negatively impact our future food security.

Gluten in wheat: What has changed during 120 years of breeding?
In recent years, the number of people affected by coeliac disease, wheat allergy or gluten or wheat sensitivity has risen sharply.

Decline in plant breeding programs could impact food security
A team of scientists led by Kate Evans, a Washington State University horticulture professor who leads WSU's pome fruit (apples and pears) breeding program, found that public plant breeding programs are seeing decreases in funding and personnel.

Research could save years of breeding for new Miscanthus hybrids
As climate change becomes increasingly difficult to ignore, scientists are working to diversify and improve alternatives to fossil-fuel-based energy.

Breeding new rice varieties will help farmers in Asia
New research shows enormous potential for developing improved short-duration rice varieties.

New software supports decision-making for breeding
Researchers at the University of Göttingen have developed an innovative software program for the simulation of breeding programmes.

Read More: Breeding News and Breeding Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to