Navigation Links
DNA blueprint for healthier and more efficient cows

Ground breaking findings by an international consortium of scientists who sequenced and analysed the bovine genome, could result in more sustainable food production.

The findings, published in two reports in the journal Science today, will have a profound impact on Australia's livestock industry.

CSIRO scientists were among the 300 researchers from 25 countries involved in the six-year Bovine Genome Sequencing Project designed to sequence, annotate and analyse the genome of a female Hereford cow called L1 Dominette.

The scientists discovered that the bovine genome contains 2,870 billion DNA building blocks, encoding a minimum of 22,000 genes. Of major interest to scientists are the differences in the organisation of the genes involved in lactation, reproduction, digestion and metabolism in cows compared to other mammals.

One of the lead authors of the report on the project's latest findings, CSIRO Livestock Industries researcher Dr Ross Tellam said the bovine genome has about 14,000 genes which are common to all mammals and these constitute the 'engine room' of mammalian biology.

"The team found that cows share about 80 per cent of their genes with humans, also providing us with a better understanding of the human genome," Dr Tellam said.

"One of the surprises in the analysis was that cow and human proteins have more in common than mouse and human proteins, yet it is the mouse that is often used in medical research as a model of human disease conditions."

Dr Tellam said the research provides an insight into the unique biology and evolution of ruminant animals and helps explain why they have been so successful as a species.

One of the major findings was that the cow has significant rearrangements in many of its immune genes and presumably an enhanced natural ability to defend itself from disease.

"This may be an evolutionary response to an increased risk of opportunistic infections at mucosal surfaces caused by the large number of bacteria and fungi carried in the rumen (the largest of the four compartments that make up the bovine stomach)," Dr Tellam said.

"The second possible explanation is that ruminants and cows are typically found in very large herds, and in these herds there is a greater propensity for disease transmission, so you need to be better equipped to withstand diseases."

These new findings will point the way for future research that could result in more sustainable food production.

Dr Tellam said the US$53 million Bovine Genome Sequencing Project led by the Human Genome Sequencing Centre at Baylor College of Medicine (BCM-HGSC) in Houston, Texas is an example of major achievements that can only be realised by substantial international scientific cooperation.

Using the complete genome sequence from L1 Dominette, the female Hereford cow, scientists also undertook comparative genome sequencing for six more breeds to look for genetic changes.

The resulting bovine HapMap a literal map of genetic diversity among different populations is also published in today's edition of the journal Science.

"Domestication and artificial selection appear to have left detectable signatures of selection within the cattle genome yet the current level of diversity within breeds is at least as great as that found within humans," CSIRO Livestock Industries scientist and one of the project's group leaders, Dr Bill Barendse, said.

The implications of the genome project for the beef and dairy industries are enormous.

"The availability of very large numbers of single nucleotide polymorphisms (DNA changes in the genetic blueprint) has allowed the development of gene chips that measure genetic variation in cattle populations and will allow the rapid selective breeding of animals with higher value commercial traits.

"This technology is quickly transforming the dairy genetics industry and has the potential to dramatically alter beef cattle industries as well," Dr Barendse said.

These new genetic tools may provide a means to select more energy-efficient animals with a smaller environmental footprint, particularly animals that produce less greenhouse gas.


Contact: Lisa Palu
CSIRO Australia

Related biology news :

1. Predicting risk of stroke from ones genetic blueprint
2. Digital zebrafish embryo provides the first complete developmental blueprint of a vertebrate
3. Does hotter mean healthier?
4. A little wine boosts omega-3 in the body: Researchers find a novel mechanism for a healthier heart
5. Presence of certain antibodies signals healthier teeth and gums
6. Exercise during pregnancy leads to a healthier heart in moms- and babies-to-be
7. U of M finds teens who eat breakfast daily eat healthier diets than those who skip breakfast
8. Alternative food networks connect ethical producers and consumers and can lead to healthier eating
9. Surprise in the organic orchard -- a healthier worm in the apple
10. Cheap and efficient white light LEDs new design described in AIPs Journal of Applied Physics
11. Iowa Power Fund advances researcher’s long quest for efficient solar power
Post Your Comments:
(Date:10/29/2015)... 29, 2015 NXTD ) ... focused on the growing mobile commerce market and ... StackCommerce, a leading marketplace to discover and buy ... smart wallet on StackSocial for this holiday season. ... the "Company"), a biometric authentication company focused on ...
(Date:10/27/2015)... , Oct. 27, 2015 In the present ... of concern for various industry verticals such as banking, ... to the growing demand for secure & simplified access ... ,sectors, such as hacking of bank accounts, misuse of ... equipment such as PC,s, laptops, and smartphones are expected ...
(Date:10/27/2015)... 27, 2015 Synaptics Inc. (NASDAQ: SYNA ), ... Google has adopted the Synaptics ® ClearPad ® ... power its newest flagship smartphones, the Nexus 5X by ... --> --> Synaptics works ... strategic collaboration in the joint development of next generation ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... 2015 /PRNewswire/ - Aeterna Zentaris Inc. (NASDAQ:  AEZS) (TSX: AEZ) ... of the Toronto Stock Exchange, confirms that as of ... corporate developments that would cause the recent movements in ... --> About Aeterna Zentaris Inc. ... Aeterna Zentaris is a specialty biopharmaceutical company engaged ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... ... The Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA), led by its Executive Council, has ... Prix, to represent the First–Person View (FPV) racing community. , FPV racing has exploded ... of racing and several new model aviation pilots have joined the community because of ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... , Nov. 24, 2015 /PRNewswire/ - Aeterna Zentaris ... today that the remaining 11,000 post-share consolidation (or ... Warrants (the "Series B Warrants") subject to the ... on November 23, 2015, which will result in ... giving effect to the issuance of such shares, ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... Creation Technologies would like to ... Deloitte's 2015 Technology Fast 500 list of the fastest growing companies in North ... II medical device that speeds up orthodontic tooth movement by as much as ...
Breaking Biology Technology: