Mateescu's Animal Genetics and Genomics Lab
Beef Cattle Thermotolerance
Climatic stress is a major limiting factor of production efficiency in beef cattle in tropical and subtropical environments and in dairy cattle throughout most of the world. This stress is expected to increase due to climate change. More than half of the cattle in the world are maintained in hot and humid environments, including about 40% of beef cows in the US. Substantial differences in thermal tolerance exist among breeds and among animals within breeds indicative of opportunities for selective improvement. For example, Bos indicus cattle exhibit increased resistance to many environmental stressors relative to Bos taurus, but tend to have slower growth, lower fertility and poor meat quality as they have not been as intensively selected for these traits as specialized Bos taurus breeds.
Use of genomic tools to produce an animal with superior ability for both thermal adaptation and food production represents an energy-efficient sustainable approach to meet the challenge of global climate change.