Love of nature and the desire to improve the lives of other people attract many women in agriculture. Nowadays Russia has a number of scientific research aimed at development of animal husbandry. Journalists of the Eurasian Women’s Community visited All-Russian Scientific Research Institute named after academician L. K. Ernst. There they interviewed Olga Kostyunina, Candidate of biological Sciences, Head of the Laboratory of Molecular Basis of Selection. 

Today, the range of her interests in scientific field includes molecular genetics in pig breeding. 


“In our laboratory, we research the biodiversity of various breeds of pigs and wild boars. We also observe the connection of signs of productivity with the genetic polymorphism of various DNA markers”, said Olga Kostyunina. 

– In other words, animals have genes with certain mutations. Those mutations can contribute to increasing the productive qualities of pigs, their early maturity characteristics, reducing the fat and so on. Through using them, it is possible to breed animals with certain useful properties. 


According to Olga Kostyunina, the main task of modern animal husbandry is breeding highly productive animals that provide high-quality products. Marker selection contributes to the development of this direction. 

As Olga Kostyunina said, many large pig-breeding farms and breeding-hybrid centers use elements of marker selection in their work. 


“In our laboratory, we help such organizations to identify the purebredness or breed belonging of pigs. We study animal herds and look for genetic anomalies in their genotype that can lead to undesirable qualities, such as, for example, sour meat or sensitivity to diseases”, she added. 


Science always moves forward, and its achievements find application in animal husbandry. According to Olga Kostyunina, now there is a project developed together with one of the pig breeding enterprises in Russia. The project is dedicated to the use of genomic evaluation of the breeding value of pigs. Such an evaluation will make it possible to predict the value of a young animal more accurately. It will help understand what genetic progress it will produce. 


According to Olga, the laboratory’s employees always have a lot of work to do. In addition to research, they write scientific articles, take part in conferences and often go on business trips not only to various regions of Russia but also abroad. 

“We concentrate all our efforts on the work. The main thing in our business is to love what you do and to enjoy your profession and communicating with the colleagues. We do not have much time for family. Nevertheless, I am very lucky, I have two twin children and a wonderful husband who does household chores when I need to throw myself back into work. Each person has his or her own source of happiness. And for me it's my favorite job and my family that always supports me”, said Olga Kostyunina. 

Viktoria Yezhova, news agency of the Eurasian Women’s Community

Translated by Nikolay Gavrilov



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