Researchers Complete Cattle Genomes

A genomic database of U.S. beef cattle is now available for free online.

Researchers with the Agricultural Research Service at the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center (USMARC) in Nebraska completed genomes of 96 bulls representing different U.S. cattle breeds.

The information helps to identify traits breeders and ranchers value according to USMARC microbiologist Michael Heaton.

He, along with colleagues, started building the panel in the 1990s.

Heaton gave an example that he used the online data to analyze a gene associated with brisket disease, which causes heart failure in cattle.

The data identified a gene mutation, where many had believed the disease was associated with cattle raised in altitudes 5,000 feet above sea level.

While a gene analysis of cattle can take up to three months and cost around $3,000, Heaton says the new online tool takes three hours and is free.

The sequence is accessible at https://www.ars.usda.gov/plains-area/clay-center-ne/marc/wgs/main/.