Genomics Research - Bovine
The genetic sequence of the first cow was published in 2009.This milestone was achieved through an international collaboration with 300 scientists in 25 countries and took six years to complete. The cow sequenced was a Hereford, a breed primarily used for beef that originated in the United Kingdom but that is now used in Canada and throughout the world. Additional breeds have also been sequenced, including Holstein, Angus, Jersey, Limousin, Norwegian Red and Brahman. This sequence information can be analyzed directly, used for comparing animals within a breed, or for comparing animals across breeds. One category of genetic difference frequently used for comparison is Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms or SNPs. SNPs are used as genetic markers to track the ancestral heritage of regions of DNA or of individual animals. SNPs also can be used to predict the likelihood that a given animal will possess an individual or a series of desirable trait(s). The latter can only occur once a SNP or a collection of SNPs is linked to a particular trait.
In this project, genotypes (the pattern of important SNPs), from a wide range of beef and dairy breeds will be used to develop accurate genomic prediction equations to assess the genetic potential of an individual animal. This information will, in turn, be used to make genetic improvement in Canada's cattle populations. Genotyping a large number of animals is necessary to attain acceptable levels of reliability, and can only be achieved through international collaboration. Low-cost tests will be developed that allow an animal's entire genome to be inferred from a relatively small number of SNPs, thereby giving valuable information as to its breeding value. The project will work with scientists (and data) from across the world, as well as leading Canadian seedstock organisations.
The Canadian Cattle Genome Project is led by 22 scientists from 8 international research organizations. The research is enhanced by input from 14 collaborators from various levels of Canadian government, industry and academia. The research is supported by 11 sponsors and 8 breeding associations.
To learn more about the Canadian Cattle Genome Project, please visit http://www.canadacow.ca