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International science consortium publishes analysis of domestic cattle genome sequence
Date:4/23/2009

The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the National Institutes of Health announced today that an international consortium of researchers has published the genome of domestic cattle, the first livestock mammal to have its genetic blueprint sequenced and analyzed. The landmark research will bolster efforts to produce better beef and dairy products and lead to a better understanding of the human genome.

The sequencing and analysis of the bovine genome was funded in part by USDA's Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES) and Agricultural Research Service (ARS), which contributed approximately $10 million. Approximately $25 million was contributed to the project by the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), part of the NIH, which is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

"The cattle industry is extremely important for U.S. agriculture with more than 94 million cattle in the United States valued at $49 billion," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "Understanding the cattle genome and having the sequence will allow researchers to understand the genetic basis for disease in domestic cattle and could result in healthier production of meat and milk while reducing producers' dependence on antibiotics."

"The domestic cattle genome sequence opens another window into our own genome," said Acting NIH Director Raynard S. Kington, M.D., Ph.D. "By comparing the human genome to the genomes of many different species, such as the domestic cattle, we can gain a clearer view of how the human genome works in health and in disease."

In a paper published in the journal Science, researchers from the Bovine Genome Sequencing Project estimate that the genome of the domestic cattle (Bos taurus) contains approximately 22,000 genes and shares about 80 percent of its genes with humans. The researchers also report that the organization of human chromosomes is closer to that of
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Contact: Geoff Spencer
spencerg@mail.nih.gov
301-402-0911
NIH/National Human Genome Research Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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