Us researchers have created a detailed library of genes in cattle called the Cattle Gene Atlas.
It is believed that this will aid the understanding of key inherited traits linked to animal health and productivity.
A better understanding of the genetics underlying complex traits will support scientific research and enable selective breeding in the livestock production industry.
The researchers built the atlas using samples from almost 100 tissue and cell types, from which they were able to detail the sequence of more than 700 sections of genetic code.
The atlas has the potential to give further insight into genetic analysis of individuals or populations, allowing the identification of relevant tissue and cell types for traits of interest.
It will also enable researchers to better predict an animal’s response to changing environments and to domestication.
The new development builds on the gene expression atlas from a decade ago, which focused on the genetic code of a single cow.
Researchers from the Roslin Institute carried out the work in collaboration with the US Department of Agriculture, the University of Maryland, the University of Edinburgh, and China Agricultural University. Their study is published in Genome Research.
“We hope this gene atlas can be a go-to source for gene-based improvement in livestock,” said Professor Albert Tenesa, personal chair of Quantitative Genetics at the Roslin Institute.
“We believe that other scientists and the cattle industry will find the atlas useful for understanding the biological and genetic basis of agronomic traits, to deliver benefits in breeding selection.”