Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Genetic Underpinnings Of Sheep Traits May Yield Clues To Greater Productivity

Date:
August 28, 2008
Source:
USDA/Agricultural Research Service
Summary:
Keeping America's sheep healthy and productive while expanding the market for wool and lamb is the goal of scientists who are matching the animals' physical traits to the genes that underpin their expression.

Information gathered on a sheep and its relatives is helping ARS scientists learn just how much a trait is affected by genes or by nongenetic factors.
Credit: Photo by Stephen Ausmus

Keeping America's sheep healthy and productive while expanding the market for wool and lamb is the goal of Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists who are matching the animals' physical traits to the genes that underpin their expression.

The scientists are pursuing this research mainly at three ARS locations: the Animal Diseases Research Unit (ADRU) in Pullman, Wash.; the U.S. Sheep Experiment Station in Dubois, Idaho; and the Roman L. Hruska U.S. Meat Animal Research Center in Clay Center, Neb.

At Dubois, the team led by Gregory Lewis is investigating reproductive efficiency, mineral retention and other traits. Michelle Mousel, an ARS geneticist at Dubois, has also created a bank of frozen tissue specimens from the station's on-site flock of 6,000 lambs, ewes and rams in support of that work, as well as data analysis and genotyping efforts.

At Pullman, ARS scientists Lynn Herrmann-Hoesing, Stephen White and Donald Knowles, who leads ADRU, are using the tissue samples to study whether ovine progressive pneumonia virus levels are affected by specific sheep immune response genes. Their goal is a molecular test with which to measure the levels of such infectious agents in sheep.

Scrapie, a degenerative neurological disease of sheep, is another concern. At Clay Center, ARS microbiologist Michael Heaton and colleagues used DNA analysis and genotyping procedures to identify sheep with 21 prion gene alleles (alternate forms of a gene) that influence genetic resistance to scrapie. The advance has given rise to faster, better and cheaper methods of detecting scrapie susceptibility in sheep and eliminating their predisposition to the disease through selective breeding.

Parallel studies under way at Clay Center and Dubois focus on the so-called myostatin mutation in Texel sheep. Through conventional breeding, researchers eventually may be able to harness the mutation to increase the size of lamb chops without adversely affecting tenderness.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by USDA/Agricultural Research Service. The original article was written by Jan Suszkiw. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

USDA/Agricultural Research Service. "Genetic Underpinnings Of Sheep Traits May Yield Clues To Greater Productivity." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 August 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080825201021.htm>.
USDA/Agricultural Research Service. (2008, August 28). Genetic Underpinnings Of Sheep Traits May Yield Clues To Greater Productivity. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080825201021.htm
USDA/Agricultural Research Service. "Genetic Underpinnings Of Sheep Traits May Yield Clues To Greater Productivity." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080825201021.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve

Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve

AP (July 31, 2014) — Seacrest Wolf Preserve on the northern Florida panhandle allows more than 10,000 visitors each year to get up close and personal with Arctic and British Columbian Wolves. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers

Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers

AP (July 31, 2014) — With Florida's panther population rebounding, some ranchers complain the protected predators are once again killing their calves. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

AP (July 31, 2014) — Sarasota County, Florida health officials have issued a warning against eating raw oysters and exposing open wounds to coastal and inland waters after a dangerous bacteria killed one person and made another sick. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

AP (July 30, 2014) — Thousands of people are trekking to a Bavarian farmer's field to check out a mysterious set of crop circles. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:  

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile iPhone Android Web
    Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins