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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Dubois, Idaho » Range Sheep Production Efficiency Research » Research » Research Project #429817

Research Project: Genetic and Epigenetic Factors that Most Influence Ewe Lifetime Production and Product Quality

Location: Range Sheep Production Efficiency Research

Project Number: 2056-31610-006-03-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 24, 2015
End Date: Sep 23, 2020

Using historical data (i.e., big data source) from the Range Sheep Production Efficiency Research Unit (ARS-Dubois) sheep (genetics, performance, health), climatic, and rangeland databases, 1) determine the normal birth weight (BW), mature weight (MW), and lifetime productivity (LP; e.g., lambs birthed and weaned, flock persistence, disease incidences, products generated) profiles for various types of sheep, 2) estimate the environmental and genetic factors that most influenced BW, MW, and LP, 3) test for generational epigenetic effects of environmental factors, and 4) based on the findings of Objectives 2 and 3, publish recommendations on breeding and flock management that will result in overall improvement lifetime productivity and product-quality output of the U.S. sheep flock.

Archive-based research will be focused on identifying and describing environmental and genetic sources in the ARS-Dubois flock that most influence ewe productivity over a lifetime. The ARS-Dubois sheep, climate, and rangeland databases will be accessed to create the dataset, which can be used to accomplish the objectives. We will investigate and identify environmental and genetic factors that most influenced ewe lifetime productivity and product quality and how the factors may exhibit generational epigenetic effects. Results and products from the analyses will be promptly transferred to the industry for advancement of the profitability, quality, and competitiveness of the American sheep industry.