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Cattle genomics and its implications for future nutritional strategies for dairy cattle

  • S. Seo (a1), D. M. Larkin (a2) and J. J. Loor (a3)


The recently sequenced cattle (Bos taurus) genome unraveled the unique genomic features of the species and provided the molecular basis for applying a systemic approach to systematically link genomic information to metabolic traits. Comparative analysis has identified a variety of evolutionary adaptive features in the cattle genome, such as an expansion of the gene families related to the rumen function, large number of chromosomal rearrangements affecting regulation of genes for lactation, and chromosomal rearrangements that are associated with segmental duplications and copy number variations. Metabolic reconstruction of the cattle genome has revealed that core metabolic pathways are highly conserved among mammals although five metabolic genes are deleted or highly diverged and seven metabolic genes are present in duplicate in the cattle genome compared to their human counter parts. The evolutionary loss and gain of metabolic genes in the cattle genome may reflect metabolic adaptations of cattle. Metabolic reconstruction also provides a platform for better understanding of metabolic regulation in cattle and ruminants. A substantial body of transcriptomics data from dairy and beef cattle under different nutritional management and across different stages of growth and lactation are already available and will aid in linking the genome with metabolism and nutritional physiology of cattle. Application of cattle genomics has great potential for future development of nutritional strategies to improve efficiency and sustainability of beef and milk production. One of the biggest challenges is to integrate genomic and phenotypic data and interpret them in a biological and practical platform. Systems biology, a holistic and systemic approach, will be very useful in overcoming this challenge.


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