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Hereford and Red Angus Heifers Recruited for Genomics Research

The University of Missouri is recruiting 2,500 Hereford heifers and 2,500 Red Angus heifers to participate in a heifer puberty and fertility genomic research project. Heifers should be registered Hereford, registered Red Angus, or commercial Hereford or Red Angus. Hereford x Red Angus crossbred heifers targeted for the Premium Red Baldy Program would also be a good fit for the research project. Producers must be willing to work with a trained veterinarian to collect the following data: ReproductiveTract Scores collected at a pre-breeding exam 30 to 45 days prior to the start of the breeding season. PelvicMeasurements (height and width) collected at the same pre-breeding exam 30 to 45 days prior to the start of the breeding season. Pregnancy Determination Using Ultrasound reporting fetal age in days. Ultrasound will need to occur no later than 90 days after the start of the breeding season. In addition, heifers must have known birth dates and have weights recorded eithe

Directional Selection and Local Adaptation in Beef Cattle

My group has posted a new preprint on bioRxiv
You can check it out here: https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.03.11.988121
Warning, it is written for a technical audience, not in cowboy terms.

So- what are the take-home messages for farmers and ranchers?
  • We can identify the DNA variants responding to your selection decisions.
  • You tend to select cattle that have better immune systems.
  • Hormone production in the ovaries is under selection in Red Angus. Makes sense based on the breed's focus on fertility.
  • Muscle development is under selection in Gelbvieh. 
  • We can identify the DNA variants that lead to cattle adapted to their environment
  • Blood vessel tightening or loosening is under environmental selection.
  • The brain and neuron signaling is an important part of environmental adaptation.
  • We are losing local adaptation in beef cattle.
Check out this Twitter thread to see figures from the paper.

Regarding the last point, we can fix the loss of local adaptation through the use of ecoregion-specific EPDs and EPDs to environmental traits like hair shedding and PAP.

Special thanks to USDA-NIFA for funding to support this work and for the Red Angus Association of America, American Simmental Association, and American Gelbvieh Association for collaborating with us!

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