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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