Cow genome opens door to yield improvements and disease treatments

29 Apr 2009 | News

Research lead

The complete cattle genome has been published, following a six-year effort by 300 scientists in 25 countries. The cow is the first livestock mammal to be sequenced, giving insights into the biology and evolution of cattle, and opening up the potential for breeding that could lead to increased milk production, disease resistance and meat quality.

Alongside the 22,000 gene sequence, scientists have completed comparisons of seven breeds of cattle, making it possible to track differences between breeds affecting milk and meat yields

One contributor, Shirley Ellis, head of the Bovine Molecular Immunology Group at the Institute of Animal Health in the UK, said the sequence, “provides a sound basis upon which to base future studies into the genetic diversity present in different cattle breeds and populations. It is crucial that we preserve this variation through appropriate breeding programmes in order to maintain healthy cattle populations.”

For more information, visit the project's website at

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