Cattle genome is complex
A massive global study involving 58,000 cattle has pinpointed the genes that influence the complex genetic trait of height in cattle, opening the door for researchers to use the same approach to map high-value traits including those important for beef and milk production.
The University of Queensland’s Professor Ben Hayes, who heads the global 1,000 Bull Genomes Consortium of 57 researchers from 30 institutes, said it had previously been a major challenge to identify variants in the genome affecting complex traits, due to variations within multiple genes and to behavioral and environmental factors.
“To overcome this issue, the consortium pooled large genomic datasets and phenotypes collected from 58,000 cattle around the world to gain the clearest picture so far of their genetics,” Professor Hayes said.
“We needed access to vast resources of data to demonstrate that the genes affecting a complex trait like height can be accurately identified,” he said. “By applying the same collaborative big data approach, it may now possible to identify genes associated with high-value complex traits that are really important to the industry, such as beef and milk production, feed efficiency and reduced methane emissions.”