Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Ancient Bison Genetic Treasure Trove for Farmers

21.10.2009
Genetic information from an extinct species of bison preserved in permafrost for thousands of years could help improve modern agricultural livestock and breeding programs, according to University of Adelaide researchers.

Researchers from the University’s Australian Centre for Ancient DNA (ACAD) worked with an international team of genomics researchers to analyse the genetic mutations of an ancient bison, many modern cattle breeds and members of the larger ruminant family tree, including deer, antelopes, and giraffes.

Their findings, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences today, open the way for identifying important mutations in the ancestors of domestic animals, says ACAD Director Professor Alan Cooper.

“The entire ancient bison genome was screened using a bovine SNP-chip – which maps changes at 54,000 specific sites across the genome at once. This is the first time such a technique has been used to examine the genetic variation of any extinct species,” Professor Cooper says.

The bovine SNP-chip was used to scan the genomes of 61 different ruminant species and 48 cattle breeds, to create a detailed evolutionary history for this complex group, which has proven difficult using traditional genetic studies.

Study leader Professor Jerry Taylor from Missouri University says: “We were surprised to find that we were able to generate very high quality genotypes for species for which the chip was not designed”.

By analysing a very large number of mutations across the different genomes, the researchers were able to provide a far more comprehensive picture of the ruminant family tree, as well as revealing the relationships and movements of modern cattle breeds through time.

“Understanding how different genes create variation controlling growth efficiency, levels of marbling (intramuscular fat), and disease resistance could have a large economic impact for farmers who raise cattle throughout the world,” says Professor Taylor.

ACAD post-doctoral researcher Dr Kefei Chen has since used the approach to analyse the genomes of the extinct aurochs, the ancestor of modern cattle, as well as early domestic cattle from China, Russia and Europe as part of a research program funded by the Australian Research Council.

Professor Cooper says: “We are using this approach to track genetic changes that took place during domestication, when much of the diversity in ancestral species was lost due to the very strong selection applied by early farmers for a few genetic traits such as docility, rapid growth and birth rates. The lost genetic variation may hold all sorts of valuable information for modern farming, including important adaptations to climate change.

Professor Alan Cooper
Director of the Australian Centre for Ancient DNA
The University of Adelaide
Phone: +61 8 8303 5950
Mobile: +61 (0) 406 383 884

Professor Alan Cooper | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.adelaide.edu

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Cascading use is also beneficial for wood
11.12.2017 | Technische Universität München

nachricht The future of crop engineering
08.12.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biochemie

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: First-of-its-kind chemical oscillator offers new level of molecular control

DNA molecules that follow specific instructions could offer more precise molecular control of synthetic chemical systems, a discovery that opens the door for engineers to create molecular machines with new and complex behaviors.

Researchers have created chemical amplifiers and a chemical oscillator using a systematic method that has the potential to embed sophisticated circuit...

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Engineers program tiny robots to move, think like insects

15.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

One in 5 materials chemistry papers may be wrong, study suggests

15.12.2017 | Materials Sciences

New antbird species discovered in Peru by LSU ornithologists

15.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>