USDA scientists are investigating methods to help beef cattle producers further improve genetic evaluations for routinely measured traits such as growth and calving ease with the "2,000 Bull Project" at the Agricultural Research Service Roman L. Hruska U.S. Meat Animal Research Center (USMARC) in Clay Center, NE.
As part of the study, researchers are targeting economically important traits like feed efficiency and disease resistance that are expensive or difficult to measure. The project, which encompasses 16 breeds, was started in 2007.
USMARC geneticists Mark Thallman and Larry Kuehn and their colleagues worked with U.S. cattle breed associations to obtain genomic profiles of 2,000 bulls from those 16 breeds to promote the development of genomic predictions. For each breed, the project provided the first substantial set of high-density genotypes, which are being used by breed associations as a starting point to incorporate genomic data into their breed improvement programs.
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