From whole-genome sequencing of the selected bulls with a total of 28.3 million variants identified the researchers began building a database of genotypes. This in turn enables sequence-based genome-wide association studies as well as genomic prediction. As a result, mutations that have a negative impact on animal health, welfare, and productivity can be rapidly identified.
Already in the first phase of the 1000 bull genome project, the researchers see evidence that this approach could help dairy and beef farmers to meet an increasing demand for their products. They tested the usefulness of the database by flagging recessive mutations associated with embryonic death and a lethal skeletal disorder. In addition, genome-wide association studies identified variants associated with specific phenotypes, such as high fat content in milk and the curly coat inherited by some Fleckvieh cattle.
In the 10,000 years of cattle breeding, this really is something new. "Whole-genome sequencing of founder animals on this scale is unprecedented for a livestock species," says Prof. Ruedi Fries, Chair of Animal Breeding at TUM. "Our results provide the basis for individualized cattle genetics, one might say 'personal genomics' for cows."
Global demand, International Collaboration
Around the world, consumer demand for beef and dairy products is changing but not diminishing. In a drive to meet cattle breeders' future needs, the 1000 bull genome project has enlisted scientists from Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and the United States.
|Contact: Ruedi Fries|
Technische Universitaet Muenchen