Iowa State University
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News Service

News Service:

Annette Hacker, manager,
(515) 294-3720

Office: (515) 294-4777

02-18-05

Contacts:

Max Rothschild, Animal Science, (515) 294-6202

Barbara McBreen, Agriculture Communications Service,
(515) 294-0707

Teddi Barron, News Service, (515) 294-4778

Iowa State scientist outlines status of animal genomics at American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting

AMES, Iowa -- The past decade has yielded new genomic tools for animal geneticists and breeders, thanks to significant developments from the genomic mapping of farm animals, said an Iowa State University animal scientist Friday at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting in Washington, D.C.

During his talk, Max Rothschild, Charles F. Curtiss Distinguished Professor in Agriculture and co-director for the Center of Integrated Animal Genomics at Iowa State, outlined the status of genetic maps, gene testing to improve livestock and sequencing of livestock genomes.

"We're making incredible progress incorporating these tools to produce livestock that are healthier, grow faster and produce better meat," Rothschild said.

Scientists have used exotic and commercial breeds for genetic analyses to identify chromosomal regions and individual genes associated with growth rate, leanness, feed intake, meat quality, reproductive rates and disease resistance in various animals. Rothschild said trait maps allow scientists to develop genetic tests to select animals based on improved characteristics.

"Efforts to map genomes started in the late 1980s," he said. "Today, we have good resolution genetic maps that are used to follow traits of economic importance."

Using gene-assisted selection, the commercial pig, chicken and cattle industries are integrating

gene markers and traditional performance information to improve traits of economic

importance. Advances in livestock genomics will ultimately improve animal performance and health, which benefits both the producer and the consumer.

Rothschild said the ultimate genetic map is the complete sequencing of the genome of an animal. The chicken genome sequence was completed last fall, the bovine genome sequence is in the draft stage and sequencing for the pig genome should be initiated soon and completed next summer.

The Center for Integrated Animal Genomics at Iowa State University is an interdisciplinary group of faculty and students using integrated, systems-wide genomics approaches to address current and future challenges and opportunities in animal agriculture and human health.

AAAS is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing science around the world. In addition to organizing its membership activities, AAAS publishes the journal Science, as well as newsletters, books, reports and programs that promote the understanding of science.

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Quick look

Iowa State University animal scientist Max Rothschild outlined the status of genetic maps, gene testing to improve livestock and sequencing of livestock genomes during a presentation February 18 at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting in Washington, D.C. Rothschild is Charles F. Curtiss Distinguished Professor in Agriculture and co-director for the Center of Integrated Animal Genomics.

Quote

"We're making incredible progress incorporating these tools to produce livestock that are healthier, grow faster and produce better meat."

Max Rothschild