Research roundup: How is climate change affecting our food supply?

July 9, 2019

Climate change has led to a rise in mean temperature and an increase in the number of extreme temperature days. Hot and cold extremes are environmental stressors that affect livestock well-being, and potentially have significant economic and food security implications. A team of researchers, led by Kent Reed, MS, PhD, recently examined how temperature extremes are affecting the well-being and economic value of turkeys. The researchers in the study found that birds specifically bred to be larger in size—and more closely resembling commercial turkeys—responded to extreme temperatures with gene changes that would lead to decreased muscle size. This was the first study on the effects of thermal challenge on gene expression in turkeys during the critical first three days following hatch. The findings from this research call for further investigation into muscle development in commercial turkeys exposed to extreme temperatures.

Read more in the January 2019 issue of Poultry Science.