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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

The Simple Value of Parentage Verification – It’s More Than You Might Realize

  When we think about DNA testing in cattle, we often revert to more complex testing like “GGP 50 or 100K” or “HD50K” and precise predictions of progeny performance in the form of genomically enhanced expected progeny differences (GE-EPD). What we often overlook is the fact that with every SNP panel that is purchased for an animal, parentage information is included at no additional cost. It’s one of the unsung heroes of genomic technology. Let’s talk about why. Did you know that on average 10% of parentage is misreported to breed associations? Of course, this isn’t on purpose but rather a result of animals being sired by cover bulls instead of AI sires and other such cases. Just last year I had a parentage issue where a cow was AI’d and put in a pasture with a cover bull after a short waiting period but ended up being bred by another cover bull in between both exposures. Anything is possible. For seedstock producers, a lot rests on the pedigree of an animal. When you open a sale ca

Angus Association to Launch New Research EPD for Functional Longevity

 It’s an exciting time for Angus breeders across the United States. On Wednesday, October 25 th Angus Genetics Incorporated (AGI), part of the American Angus Association (AAA), will launch the first research expected progeny difference (EPD) for Functional Longevity. The Angus breed and its Board of Directors have placed developing genetic predictions of maternal function and longevity as a strategic priority for several years. As a result of that enterprise, programs like Angus Herd Improvement Records (AHIR) and Maternal Plus have been created, leading to substantial data reporting and genotyping by breeders on their cow herds. This initiative, combined with extensive work and due diligence by AGI have resulted in the launch of a research version of the Functional Longevity EPD.     While some breeders may look at this trait and its description and compare it to a traditional ‘Stayability’ EPD, I would caution that interpretation. Traditional Stayability EPDs are reported as the

Breeding for a More Efficient and Profitable Commercial Cow

 Troy Rowan presented at the Kentucky Beef Efficiency Conference, January 5th, 2023. Since 1970, we are producing the same amount of beef with fewer cows. The beef industry is a plant based meat. In our selection, we often focus on the end of the year revenue. However, much of what impacts our profitability is on the cost side of the equation. If we are going to select for a single trait, that single trait has to be profitability. Which traits matter to our bottom line? We often think about things in terms of cow units. But, what really pushes our production is our forage resources. Can we make our cows more efficient at turning those forage resources into a marketable product? What does a profitable cow look like? "A profitable cow is an efficient cow," says Rowan. There are lots of different ways to be inefficient and efficient. An efficient cow is: Moderate Mature Size Maintenance Requirement Milk Fertility Longevity Structural Soundness Udder structure Emissions "The

Hair Shedding Research Available

 Happy to submit our Hair Shedding manuscript for publication. Preprint is available at bioRxiv   This is an exciting manuscript. It represents the work of many collaborators, especially farmers and ranchers. I made a lot of great friends through this project. The science is exciting. The large, multi-breed sample size worked well to identify associations and genetic interactions with hair shedding. We were also able to make accurate genomic predictions of hair shedding for multiple breeds. I also think hair shedding scores are a valuable management tool. Cows who shed late tend to have poorer nutrition or are stressed in some way.  Data has been submitted to Dryad and should be publicly available soon. Data is not published yet, but in a few weeks it will appear at this address:   Harly Durbin Rowan deserves the lion's share of the credit for managing this project, working with farmers and rancher

What the genetics of feral cats tell us about domestication and human history

  Brocken Inaglory, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons The journal Heredity  did a nice podcast with Sara Nilson, Leslie Lyons and me on our recent cat paper.  Listen here: Link to the paper: Nilson, S.M., Gandolfi, B., Grahn, R.A.  et al.  Genetics of randomly bred cats support the cradle of cat domestication being in the Near East.  Heredity   129 , 346–355 (2022).

What Genetic Prediction Should Borrow from Reproductive Management

  Beef Heifer Puberty and Fertility Genomic Research from American Hereford Association on Vimeo .