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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Dubois, Idaho » Range Sheep Production Efficiency Research » Research » Research Project #429740

Research Project: Genetic Improvement of U.S. Wool-type Breeds

Location: Range Sheep Production Efficiency Research

Project Number: 2056-31610-006-04-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 9, 2015
End Date: Sep 30, 2019

Objective:
In a range sheep production environment, evaluate different wool breeds of sheep for key traits such as, but not limited to, reproduction, longevity, wool production and quality, disease resistance/tolerance, growth, mature size, and grazing/herding behavior. Use quantitative and genetic marker-assisted selection methods to improve/enhance reproductive efficiency, wool production and quality, disease resistance/tolerance, and other traits recommended by the industry.

Approach:
Research is focused on identifying and describing genetic sources in current American sheep breeds that can be used to increase ewe reproductive capability, wool production and quality, and resistance to disease to ultimately yield more premium wool for American and international consumers. We will investigate paternal and maternal genetics in order to promptly explore potential improvements in ewe lifetime reproductive success and wool production and quality. Both genetic marker-assisted and Estimated Breeding Values (EBV) based selection tools will be identified/developed and used to advance wool-type breeds to achieve targeted production types for evaluation. Results and products from the evaluations will be promptly transferred to the industry for advancement of the profitability, quality, and competitiveness of the American wool-sheep industry.