Submitted to: Workshop Proceedings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/1/2011
Publication Date: 10/20/2011
Citation: Taylor, J.F., Beever, J.E., Fahrenkrug, S.C., Faulkner, D.B., Freetly, H.C., Garrick, D.J., Johnson, K.A., Hansen, S.L., Kerley, M.S., Loy, D.D., Neibergs, H.L., Pollak, E.J., Pomp, D., Seabury, C.M., Schnabel, R.D., Shike, D.W., Sonstegard, T.S., Spangler, M.L., Tait, J.R., Weaber, R.L. 2011. US consortium for the genetic improvement of feed efficiency in beef cattle [abstract]. Proceedings of the International Workshop on Bovine Genomics: Contributions to the Future of Livestock, October 6, 2011. Clermont-Ferrand/Cournon, France. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: Selection is the only technology proven to unabatedly increase the food produced per animal. However, the cost and difficulty of measurement of feed efficiency (FE) in cattle has constrained quantitative genetic improvement to primarily output traits such as growth, meat yield and quality. As the world’s human population continues to grow, the challenge will be to produce an increased amount of animal protein with less feed and water inputs and greenhouse gas outputs. Our goal is to sustainably reduce the feed resources required to produce beef via the rapid development and deployment of novel nutritional, genomic and genetic improvement technologies. We shall assemble DNA, individual intake, growth and carcass data on 8,000 cattle which will be used to develop and commercialize molecular estimates of breeding value for FE based upon high-density single nucleotide polymorphism genotypes. These animals will also be used to examine host-symbiont gut microbiome interactions on FE, body composition and greenhouse gas emissions and genotype × nutritional environment interactions on FE. We also exploit an existing DNA marker focused demonstration project to develop a comprehensive industry-wide extension program to translate technologies and train scientists and industry leaders to address sustainable agricultural production. By developing sample and data repositories and leveraging existing industry commercialization relationships, we will ensure rapid technology deployment and the sustainability of accomplishments. Genetic improvement of FE will increase farm participation in sustainable practices, increase animal production efficiency, improve US beef competitiveness and ensure a reliable and cost effective supply of high quality protein to consumers. USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.