Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

ISU researchers working to develop, market embryonic test for bovine genetics

22.09.2009
Looking at the genetic makeup of cattle to determine their value is nothing new.

An examination of a small sample of hair or blood can reveal if a calf has any genetic diseases that will lower the market price.

Now, a team of clinicians and diagnosticians and genetic researchers at Iowa State University's College of Veterinary Medicine are looking to test those calves earlier . . . before they are born . . . even before their mother is pregnant.

Dr. Jim West and Dr. Paul Plummer are researching a method to determine if a bovine is genetically sound when it is still an embryo prior to being implanted in its mother.

This process, if successful, would allow producers to select which embryos are valuable before spending the time, effort and expense of producing a calf only to find out that it has genetic defects that render it of little value.

Until now, the problem has been biopsy samples of embryos are so small -- only a few cells - that it was impossible to accurately read the genetic information.

"There were limitations to the process," said West, director of Food Supply Veterinary Medicine. "You can't take very many cells when you do the biopsy. You have to leave enough cells to get a pregnancy."

New technology may allow West and Plummer to get accurate genetic information from samples as small as two to three cells and still keep the embryo viable, even if it is frozen for long-term storage.

"Our research is looking at the ability to biopsy the embryo, freeze it and then do a variety of tests on the sample after only seven days from when it was conceived," said West.

The study is being funded by a Grow Iowa Values Fund Grant. The goal of the grant program is to support development of technologies with commercial potential and to support the growth of companies using those technologies.

The researchers are working with Ames Center for Genetic Technologies, Inc. as their corporate partner.

Testing for traits can be very simple or more complex.

Checking the sex of a calf intended for dairy production is very important. Males have little value for dairy producers.

More complex testing can also screen embryos for genes that will indicate whether calves will carry traits for beef tenderness, feed efficiency, nutrition and more than a dozen others.

"Testing is going to happen," said West. "Right now the testing happens on animals that are already born. This test will allow us to go back a generation and only select those that have the desirable traits."

The new process will offer producers many advantages, according to Plummer, a clinician in Food Supply Veterinary Medicine.

"First, the new test allows very small samples," he said. "Also, it is affordable for the producer. It is also modular, so we can test for different traits. Finally, it is adaptable. When new diseases are identified we can change it."

West and Plummer see many possibilities in this new technology.

Overseas markets have specific preferences for how their beef and dairy taste. This new technology will allow producers to market embryos with specific traits to the markets they best fit, according to Plummer.

Another benefit is that embryos already in storage can be thawed and tested for diseases that may have not previously been detectable. These types of tests may allow many diseased cattle to be avoided.

Other members of the research team include Dr. Patrick Halbur, chair of Veterinary Diagnostic and Production Animal Medicine; Dr. Rodger Main, director of operations at the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory; and Marianna Jahnke, Embryo Transfer Unit.

Jim West | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.iastate.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Antimicrobial substances identified in Komodo dragon blood
23.02.2017 | American Chemical Society

nachricht New Mechanisms of Gene Inactivation may prevent Aging and Cancer
23.02.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Alternsforschung - Fritz-Lipmann-Institut e.V. (FLI)

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

From rocks in Colorado, evidence of a 'chaotic solar system'

23.02.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

'Quartz' crystals at the Earth's core power its magnetic field

23.02.2017 | Earth Sciences

Antimicrobial substances identified in Komodo dragon blood

23.02.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>