Cornell genetic testing process cuts costs by up to 75 percent

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A genomics technique previously used to analyze corn has been applied to cattle by an assistant professor at Cornell University, cutting the cost of a genetic profile from as much as $150 to $40 or less.

Research at Cornell applies a genomics technique called Genotyping-by-sequencing (GBS) to cattle. The technique is an inexpensive process consisting of four basic steps to translate DNA to data, giving producers a picture of the herd’s genetics more quickly and cheaply.

Ikhide Imumorin, an assistant professor of animal genetics and genomics in the Department of Animal Science at Cornell led the project. Using GBS, Imumorin identified more than 50,000 genetic markers for genetic profiling. According to a release, the analysis showed the markers were preferentially located in or near the gene-rich regions in the arms of the chromosome, making them well sited for tagging genes in genetic studies.

The GBS process can generate enough markers to put cattle genomics on the fast track. Cattle producers with an interest in specific traits such as meat quality, disease resistance or heat tolerance can sort through animals to more easily select animals carrying select traits.

Imumorin says the use of GBS democratizes genetic profiling for breeders and geneticists looking for superior breeding stock. By focusing on the four-step process, he says we’re closer to a technique to asses a bull’s genetic value the day it’s born more cheaply than is currently possible.

The research team led by Imumorin used samples from 47 cattle from six breeds originating from the U.S. and Nigeria. Findings were published in the online journal of PLOS ONE on May 17.



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