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Dr. Jamie Courter is your Mizzou Beef Genetics Extension Specialist

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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

CAFNR faculty find genes mammals use to sense their environment, while creating hair shedding prediction tool for cattle farmers and ranchers

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The tool is part of a study published in an Oxford University Press journal and could be used to help cattle farmers improve the health, well-being and productivity of their herds.   A groundbreaking, newly-published study by CAFNR researcher Jared Decker uses genomics and citizen science to help cattle farmers and ranchers across the globe make better breeding selections that will ultimately improve sustainability, animal welfare and profitability of their operations. And, the key to all of this? Hair shedding. “This project has been really exciting to me because it blends both very basic research all the way to very applied research, so it is one of those rare projects that covers that wide spectrum,” said Jared Decker, associate professor of animal sciences and Wurdack Chair of Animal Genomics. According to Decker, some cows shed their winter hair more effectively than others. This means that some lose their heavy winter coats during the spring months before the heat of summer sets

What You Can't See - How Genomics Can Break the Tie

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 We have all heard the saying “You can’t judge a book by its cover”, but it is true that the cover is what initially draws a person to pick up the book in the first place. The same is true with selecting and breeding cattle. What the animal looks like matters. However, what the saying really means is it’s what is inside the book, or in this case underneath the animal’s hide, that adds the most value. The importance of phenotypic selection in cattle is non-negotiable. But, once someone has made that initial gate cut, genomics can help in marketing the value of sale bulls and heifers with increased confidence. Cattlemen and women do their best to select elite bulls to mate their cows to. Unfortunately, basic biology reminds us that variability exists even within the best mating plans. But exactly how much variability? Well, while discussed at length in the extension article The Random Shuffle of Genes: Putting the E in EPD , basic math tells us that within a single full sibling matin