Sheep are being screened by CT scanner to identify which are the best for breeding
Normally seen in hospitals, computerised tomography (CT) scanners use X-rays to create detailed images of the inside of the human body.
However, Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) in Edinburgh is putting live animals through the machine in a bid to improve sheep stocks.
By using low dose X-rays to produce images showing muscle shape, internal fat and pelvic shape of the sheep, experts can identify attributes that produce the best lambs for meat.
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The project is being led by the aptly named Dr Nicola Lambe, who has been working as a sheep geneticist with the SRUC for 15 years.
She said: “The scanner is the same as you would get in a hospital and it is usually used for medical purposes. But we use it for CT scanning sheep.
“The interesting thing is that you can look at all the different body tissue and organs.
Scotland’s Rural College is putting live animals through the machine in a bid to improve sheep stock
“We can use it to select the top animals for breeding with.”
A number of pedigree sheep breeders have already made use of the mobile scanner to check for their best animals.
Ms Lambe has used ultrasound, video image analysis and mechanical, chemical and sensory tests to carry out meat quality tests in sheep, cows and pigs.
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