Researchers with UF/IFAS get a $733,000 grant to study the genetics of Brangus cattle to help create a superior cow.
It’s hot and humid in Florida for a large portion of the year, a fact that doesn’t sit well with most beef cattle. Heat and humidity affect a beef cow’s health, which in turn affects its quality and productivity. A new study being undertaken by UF/IFAS scientists looks to research the DNA of Brangus cattle to help breed a “cow of the future,” according to a UF/IFAS press release. Explore the details of the study below.
Looking at Brangus Cattle DNA
Brangus cattle are a breed that resulted from a cross between an Angus and a Brahman. The breed retains the hardiness of the Brahman with the superior quality of the Angus, creating a more heat-tolerant cow. Those DNA paths that make Brahman cattle hardier in the heat and humidity is what will be studied by the grant, according to Raluca Mateescu, an associate professor in the UF/IFAS department of animal sciences. “The grant allows us to track down DNA segments from the two breeds and figure out which regions of the cow’s DNA are important to regulate body temperature,” Mateescu is quoted as saying in the press release.
The $733,000 grant comes from the federal government and spans three years. A team of UF/IFAS researchers, Mateescu included, will be conducting the study aimed at increasing tolerance to heat stress in cattle. According to the article, 40% of beef cow herds in the U.S. are in hot and humid climates like Florida’s, and 50% of the world’s beef cattle live in similar environments. The statistics will only increase as climate change increases. “This offers a powerful new approach to address the challenges of climate change and develop climate-smart productive cattle for a future, hotter world,” Mateescu shared.
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