Beef Cattle Genomic Science and Applications to Production Practices
Animal scientists Harris Lewin, Jon Beever, Sandra Rodriguez-Zas, Larry Schook, Bruce Southey and several graduate students and post-docs were contributors to the cattle genome project. Jon Beever has since identified seven genes that are associated with the occurrence of congenital defects in breeds of beef cattle and has developed diagnostic tests for those genes. These discoveries have led to several patents and licensures for the U of I, and thousands of beef cattle producers have submitted samples for testing.
These findings and applications have eliminated these congenital disorders from the U.S. beef cattle population. Dan Faulkner and Larry Berger have exploited the bovine map to identify genes associated with better feed efficiency in growing cattle. This work is creating changes in practices and improvements in profits in the beef cattle production industry and is expanding to include considerations for practices that will reduce greenhouse gas production from cattle.