Scientists from Texas AgriLife Research and the Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM) are part of a consortium of researchers who have developed an annotated sequence of the cattle genome which could lead to better disease resistance and higher quality meat for consumers, the researchers say. Their work was led by the Baylor College of Medicine Human Genome Sequencing Center and published in two reports that appear today in the journal "Science."
The researchers used the complete sequence from a single Hereford cow and comparative genome sequences for six more breeds, looking for changes called single nucleotide polymorphisms SNPs markers that can help researchers identify favorable traits.
"The biggest thing that came out of the SNP project was the resource of the SNPs themselves," said Dr. Clare Gill, a Texas AgriLife Research beef geneticist who co-led the SNP initiative. "That has changed how we operate when we do DNA studies and identification of genes."
Texas AgriLife Research is part of the Texas A&M University System, with scientists based at Texas A&M in College Station and 13 research centers across the state.
SNPs in 497 cattle from 17 geographically and biologically diverse breeds and two related species (anoa and water buffalo) were used in the project. Using SNPs, Gill said there could be considerable progress made in cattle health as well as meat production.
"There could be progress made in disease resistance, production efficiency, tenderness and marbling," Gill said.
Dr. James Womack, who holds the title of Distinguished Professor in the CVM and has studied the bovine genome for the past 20 years and is one of the team leaders of the project, said the work "opens the door to look at all sorts of specific interests in cattle from disease immunity to better meat quality, better milk production and on and on."
"Ten to 20 years down the line, this will lead to n
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Texas A&M University