BRENDON CANT brendon at iinet.net.au
Mon Jan 7 02:06:46 CET 2008


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Professor Frank Dunshea, Senior Research Scientist at the University of
Melbourne and a participant in the Pork CRC, has been honoured as one of the
2007 recipients of the Minister’s Prize for Application of the 3R’s in
Teaching and Research in Victoria.


In his role with the Pork CRC, Professor Dunshea is Manager of Program 2,
which focuses on improving pig herd feed conversion efficiency.


Traditionally, the 3Rs have represented reading, (w)riting and ‘rithmetic,
but in the case of eminent scientists Professor Dunshea and joint award
recipient, Dr Brian Leury, also of the University of Melbourne, they stand
for replacement, reduction and refinement.


Victorian Minister for Agriculture, Joe Helper, presented the award at the
Bureau of Animal Welfare Annual Scientific Procedures Seminar.


The award is for pioneering research into the use of Dual Energy X-ray
Absorptiometry (DXA) to refine, reduce and replace the use of animals in
biomedical and agricultural research and teaching.


DXA was initially developed to measure bone density in humans, but using it
to measure body composition of domestic animals was pioneered in Australia
by Professor Dunshea and Dr Leury. The DXA technique either eliminates the
need to sacrifice animals or, due to improved precision, reduces animal
numbers by up to 60 per cent.


Professor Dunshea indicated that DXA was an invaluable tool for research and


“It is accurate, non-invasive, rapid and cost-effective compared with other
techniques, including traditional techniques,” he said.


“This technology has also been applied to a range of disciplines, including
nutrition, growth and development, genetic selection and improvement and
biomedical research.”


Professor Dunshea said the initial research collaboration between the
University of Melbourne and Victorian Department of Primary Industries has
now been expanded to include other universities, research providers,
companies and hospitals.


“The motivation in each case is to reduce the number of animals used or
sacrificed during biomedical and agricultural research,” he said.


“For example, we can calculate that a serial sacrifice study that would
detect a 20 per cent difference, at the 95 per cent confidence level, in fat
deposition in pigs would require 22 pigs per treatment and an initial
sacrifice group of 10 pigs, – all of which would have to be sacrificed.”
“This represents a total of 54 pigs, rather than the 18 pigs required for
the same study using DXA,” he said.


“Traditionally, studies into changes in animal body composition used serial
slaughter or relatively inaccurate indirect measures, such as dye or isotope
dilution,” he said.


“A significant advantage of this technique is that in undergraduate
teaching, students can directly measure changes in body composition of live


Since Professor Dunshea and Dr Leary commenced their work, numerous
undergraduates and 12 research students have used DXA in their studies at
the University of Melbourne.


Acknowledging Professor Dunshea’s work and his award, Pork CRC CEO, Dr Roger
Campbell, said using advanced technology such as DXA for pig research was a
good fit with the CRC’s vision to enhance the international competitiveness
of the Australian pork industry by providing and adopting new and novel
technologies that reduce feed costs, improve herd feed conversion efficiency
and increase the range and functionality of pork products.


HYPERLINK "http://www.porkcrc.com.au/"www.porkcrc.com.au


Authorised by Pork CRC and issued on its behalf by

Brendon Cant & Associates, Tel 08 9384 1122.

MEDIA CONTACT: Dr Roger Campbell, Mobile 0407 774 714.





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