Submitted to: Genetical Research
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: May 1, 2004
Publication Date: August 15, 2004
Citation: Sonstegard, T.S., Van Tassell, C.P. 2004. Bovine genomics update: making a cow jump over the moon. Genetical Research 84, pp. 3-9.
Recent research in bovine genetics has focused on characterizing the biologic differences underlying phenotypic variation for qualitative and quantitative traits of economic value in existing cattle populations. The much-anticipated benefits of DNA-based tools to routinely guide selection decisions for more efficient genetic gain and widened profit margins have been predicted, but not fully met since the origin of this premise over two decades ago. The impending release of a high-quality genome draft sequence in 2005 will mark a turning point in these efforts. The following discussion summarizes how the bovine genetics research community has positioned itself to fully utilize a genome sequence resource by: 1) identifying a significant number of genomic regions that harbor genes affecting dairy and meat production and animal health and 2) constructing complementary resources that will facilitate annotation, positional cloning, and studies in functional genomics. A brief outlook at future challenges and opportunities will also be discussed to frame how genome sequence information can not only be applied to better implement marker-assisted selection, but also address rising consumer concerns relative to animal well-being and food safety.