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Dr. Jamie Courter is your Mizzou Beef Genetics Extension Specialist

By Jared E. Decker Many of you have probably noticed that things have been a lot less active on the A Steak in Genomics™   blog, but you probably haven't known why. In January 2021, I was named the Wurdack Chair in Animal Genomics at Mizzou, and I now focus on research, with a little bit of teaching. I no longer have an extension appointment. But, with exciting news, the blog is about to become a lot more active! Jamie Courter began as the new MU Extension state beef genetics specialist in the Division of Animal Sciences on September 1, 2023. I have known Jamie for several years, meeting her at BIF when she was a Masters student. I have been impressed by Jamie in my interactions with her since that time.  Dr. Courter and I have been working closely together the last 6 weeks, and I am excited to work together to serve the beef industry for years to come! Jamie holds a bachelor’s degree in animal science from North Carolina State University and earned a master's degree in animal

Local Genetic Adaptation Grant

Two experiences motivated me to research local genetic adaptation in beef cattle. First of all, as an extension specialist, when I visited with farmers and ranchers across the state of Missouri, you quickly find out that fescue toxicity and sensitivity are important issues for Missouri farmers and ranchers. Further, in the fall of 2013, my mom brought three head of her cattle to graze my pastures at my little farm. One of the cows completely fell apart on the fescue. I started thinking about this problem and soon realized my experience in population genetics could be used to address the issue.

In 2015, the USDA had a call for proposals to use breeding and genomics to address local genetic adaptation. After several nights of working till 4am, I had a proposal ready to be submitted in June. To my great surprise, in October I found out my grant was one of two selected for funding (a 5% funding rate). Last week, the USDA made the award announcement public.

Local genetic adaptation is simply to match the cow's genetics to her environment.

Here are links to further information about our project:





The recent hair shedding work we have started is part of this local genetic adaptation project.

I appreciate the collaborations with the breed associations that make this project possible, including Angus, Charolais, Gelbvieh, Hereford, Limousin, Red Angus, Shorthorn, and Simmental. I also appreciate financial support from the Angus Foundation and Gelbvieh Foundation.


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