21st Sep 2012
I was asked recently to comment on the advances in genetics, particularly the Equinome project and its potential impact on the scene. I notice that there is a symposium in Kentucky this week on the subject, where Emmeline Hill is defending her position valiantly in the face of competitor attack. Science is a battlefield too.
My view is that the search for the kernel of success has been ongoing for centuries. The answer remains as elusive as ever, though the words to describe it get longer. For those unused to mitochondria, there is no immediate cause for worry because the most successful still breed the best to the best ( and hope for the best). However I dislike contempt prior to investigation – those who will dismiss the search even before the results are posted. Modern science allows for investigation down to atomic level and the science is advancing more rapidly than ever so it is impossible to say that the results will never change the way we think or see things. Anything is possible, and the search is valuable even if it only confirms what we think we already know.
There is a book I can recommend called The Rational Optimist, a strong antidote for the pervading mood of the era. In it the author, Matt Ridley, recognises how the speed of innovation has accelerated in the computer age. In centuries past, one scientist might meet another innovator every six months after a long sea voyage and their thoughts could coalesce into greater thoughts. Nowadays thoughts are dispersed across the globe in the nanosecond it takes to send them and the feedback is also instantaneous so the speed at which ideas are confirmed or debunked is also extremely rapid. From this process great things can and will happen. The only blocker to such progress is the failure to embark on the journey.
We are currently undergoing a review of the INS Stud Management course curriculum to ensure that we keep up to date and continue to challenge our students. We have included a lecture or two from Emmeline Hill on the schedule for the last few years and will continue to support the work as best we can. Finding a commercial application for it has so far eluded us though I see that Swettenham Stud in Australia is the first to nail it’s Equinome findings to it’s masthead. The Sangster colours lead again!