The cattle genome has gone large, as an international consortium of researchers announces a global database of cow gene sequences. In a new paper in the journal Nature Genetics, the scientists describe the genomes of 232 bulls and two cows from four different breeds, including Angus beef cows and Jersey milkers. In particular, they focused on key ancestor bulls, which have produced millions of descendants between them. With these new additions, the cattle genome database now comprises more than 1,200 animals of different breeds. And the data can be linked to data on key characteristics such as health, fertility, milk yield and growth, so researchers can spot genetic variations that lead to differences between breeds.
The scientists hope that the database will become the 'gold top' standard reference manual for cow genetics, and will open the door for further research into breeding and farming. Sounds udderly wonderful.