Beefmaster Educational Endowment Foundation to Fund Genomic Sequencing of Beefmaster Sires Through the University of Missouri

by Joe Mask | Published February 8, 2013

SAN ANTONIO – At its January 2013 meeting the Beefmaster Educational Endowment Foundation (B.E.E.F.) Board of Directors finalized funding for a research project at the University of Missouri for genomic sequencing of Beefmaster bulls. This sequencing is meant to enhance the understanding and genetic prediction of Beefmaster cattle performance.

The $27,500 research study was recommended for funding to the board by Beefmaster Breeders United (BBU) Long Range Planning Committee and will be awarded to the University of Missouri’s Dr. Jerry Taylor who serves as the wurdack chair of animal genomics and curators’ and a professor of genetics and animal sciences.

Taylor expressed that the B.E.E.F., funding will be used in tandem with funding provided by the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) to deep sequence the genomes of high-impact bulls to identify variation in growth, carcass quality, feed intake, disease resistance and early embryonic loss.

“The funding will also support our development of an assay to generate genomic-enhanced EPDs and will include up to 6,000 of the variants detected in the sequencing project to test their affects on fertility in 10,000 genotyped heifers,” said Taylor. “The results will lead to improved EPDs for fertility and production traits in Beefmaster cattle.”

BBU will benefit from this research, as the association will receive DNA sequence data on the bulls and then obtain additional knowledge tied to a large reservoir of sequenced bulls internationally. Sequence data can be used to expand existing high-density 50K (HD 50K) DNA data at the University of Missouri into whole genome results, which in turn creates potential for advanced Beefmaster selection tools at the association. The DNA sequence data on Beefmaster bulls could ultimately lead to genomic-enhanced expected progeny differences (GE-EPDs).

Beefmaster breeders do not currently have access to GE-EPDs through the association’s National Cattle Evaluation program. BBU Executive Vice President Dr. Tommy Perkins said the DNA research on Beefmaster cattle creates multiple opportunities for enhancement of current and future EPDs through improved accuracy levels. It could afford additional EPDs and other selection tools for traits that measure reproduction performance.

“Beefmaster genetics are known around the world for outstanding growth and overall reproductive performance. With this newly funded study, Beefmaster breeders can move forward with greater optimism as the genomic technologies continue to evolve,” said Perkins.

B.E.E.F., President Davin Vaughn said research is only one of three components that the Beefmaster Educational Endowment Foundation funds, with the other two components being youth and education.

“Research projects such as the Beefmaster bull genomic sequencing project at the University of Missouri are invaluable to the Beefmaster breed. Benefits to the membership and their operations from B.E.E.F.’s investment in this project are an overwhelming positive move forward,” said Vaughn.

B.E.E.F., was established in 2009 as a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization to support Beefmaster education, youth and research. To learn more about B.E.E.F., and the programs it supports visit the BBU foundation history web page.

For more information and results, call the BBU office at 210-732-3132 or visit www.beefmasters.org.