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Gabriella Condello

Position/Title: M.Sc. Thesis
email: gcondell@uoguelph.ca
Office: ANNU 043

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I am a Master of Science (M.Sc.) thesis student under the supervision of Dr. Christine Baes in the Center for Genetic Improvement of Livestock (CGIL). I completed my undergraduate studies at the University of Guelph in 2022 majoring in Animal Biology with a minor in Molecular Biology and Genetics, where I became interested in livestock genomics, especially dairy cattle genomics.

I began my M.Sc. studies in September 2022, which is a continuation of my work on the genomics of Bovine Spastic Syndrome (Crampy) and Spastic Paresis (Paresis) in Canadian Holstein Dairy cattle, two heritable neuromuscular disorders affecting cattle welfare. They are characterized by involuntary and uncontrollable muscle cramping and spasms of the hind limb that progressively worsen over time. The disorders are raising concern in the dairy industry due to an increased prevalence of affected cattle across multiple breeds, and the discomfort and pain caused by muscle spasms.

The purpose of my thesis will be to estimate genetic parameters and identify the candidate genes that play a role in Crampy and Paresis by conducting genome-wide association studies (GWAS) to further understand the genetic nature of these disorders. These results will be compared with other genetic studies of Crampy and Paresis to determine if their findings are relevant for the Canadian dairy Holstein population. Ultimately, the results from this study and future work could lead to treatment development and early detection in animals, and could be included in the dairy cattle health genetic selection index to mitigate further use of Crampy- and Paresis-affected cattle in breeding programs. 

Outside of studying, I seek out any opportunity to travel and experience a variety of cultures and wildlife. I also enjoy staying active by playing football and hockey.