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Research Project: National Animal Germplasm Program


Project Number: 3012-31000-005-000-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated

Start Date: Oct 16, 2012
End Date: Oct 15, 2017

Objective 1: Complete development and implementation of a publically available Version 2.0 of the Animal-GRIN database and initiate planning and development of a genomic component for the database: Version 2.1 of the Animal-GRIN. Objective 2: Employ current genomic and quantitative analyses to characterize genetic diversity in the germplasm collection and associated populations to guide additional germplasm sampling and diversity analyses for domestic and international germplasm stakeholders; focus on rare and economically important traits, breeds, species and populations. Objective 3: Refine cryopreservation, germplasm evaluation and reproductive technologies that facilitate efficient germplasm collection and its utilization by various livestock industries.

Globally, 20% of the world’s livestock breeds are “at risk” of extinction -- such a contraction limits the flexibility of livestock producers to respond to future biological or economic challenges. Underlying this contraction of genetic resources are financial pressures faced by the livestock breeder coupled with greater organization of genetic selection programs. Public sector institutions are also faced with mounting pressures to reduce or eliminate research populations. This trend is of particular concern as research moves from genetic sequencing to understanding how genes function and translate into phenotypes. This project plan addresses genetic security by continuing the development of germplasm and tissues collections for all major livestock species in the U.S., so that industry and the research community can access these resources at any time. Three primary objectives address: database development, assessing in-situ and germplasm collection genetic diversity, and improvement in the efficiency and efficacy of cryopreservation protocols. All three of these objectives are highly interdependent and are required for the functionality of the repository. The expected results from this plan are a greater level of genetic security for U.S. livestock populations; information about the collection so researchers and industry can readily access the material; and improved cryopreservation protocols and germplasm evaluation methods. The successful execution of these objectives translates into greater national and global food security and greater economic vitality of the U.S. livestock sector.