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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Dubois, Idaho » Range Sheep Production Efficiency Research » Research » Research Project #427432

Research Project: Genetic Improvement of Composite Sheep Breeds

Location: Range Sheep Production Efficiency Research

Project Number: 2056-31610-006-01-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 18, 2014
End Date: Sep 17, 2019

Objective:
In a range sheep production environment, evaluate different biological types of sheep for key traits such as, but not limited to reproduction, longevity, wool quality, disease resistance/tolerance, growth, carcass composition, meat quality, mature size, and grazing/herding behavior. Use quantitative and molecular methodologies to ultimately improve/enhance reproductive efficiency, disease resistance/tolerance, and direct-market product traits, such as wool and meat.

Approach:
Research is focused on identifying and describing genetic sources in current American sheep breeds that can be used to increase ewe reproductive capability and resistance to disease to ultimately yield more nutritious meat and(or) premium wool for American and international consumers. We will investigate both paternal and maternal genetics in order to promptly explore potential improvements in ewe lifetime productivity or end-product quality. Both genetic marker-assisted and EBV-based selection tools will be identified/developed and subsequently used to create test composites or improve breeds to achieve targeted production types for evaluation. Results/products from the evaluations will be promptly transferred to the industry for advancement of the profitability, quality, and competitiveness of the national sheep base.