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Russell Nemetz USDA Awards UC-Davis $2.5 Million for Cow Genomics Research
by Russell Nemetz, click here for bio

Program: Land & Livestock Report
Date: July 06, 2018

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture has awarded the University of California, Davis, $2.5 million to lead a four-year cow genomics project in the U.S.

According to a university press release, the research effort aims to allow the cattle industry to use genetics more efficiently to predict the traits their herds possess, such as growth and disease resistance.

First sequenced in 2009, the bovine genome was one of the largest ever sequenced. Understanding that information could open the door to improvements in genetic selection, which could lead to healthier, more productive livestock, said the UC Davis project leader.

"We have the code of the cow's genome, but we don't know what it means," said Pablo Ross, project leader and associate professor in the Department of Animal Science at the UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. "This project is like genome sequencing 2.0. The goal is to identify the functional elements of the cow's genome."

Several universities are involved in the project, including Virginia Tech, Texas A&M University, Iowa State University, Washington State University, Pennsylvania State University, University of Idaho, Colorado State University and University of Vermont.

The grant is one portion of a $6 million grant USDA awarded to create three functional genomics projects. In addition to the UC Davis-led project for cattle genomics, USDA awarded grants for swine genomics at Iowa State University and chicken genomics at the Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona, California.

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