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Characterisation of the Brahman Genome

Did you know Australian beef producers now have genetic information specific to Brahman cattle?

Project start date: 15 April 2017
Project end date: 30 November 2019
Publication date: 03 December 2019
Livestock species: Grassfed cattle, Grainfed cattle

Summary

Brahman are a Bos indicus breed of cattle that are genetically different to Bos taurus cattle. Previous research on Brahmans has relied on genetic information for Bos taurus breeds, which left a knowledge gap regarding reference genomes specific to the Bos indicus breed.

This project used new genetic technology to develop the full characterisation of the Brahman genome that is more appropriate for use in research on Australian Brahman cattle.

Brahmans now have their own specific, high quality reference genome. This information is now commercially available, which provides a valuable tool for researchers and producers. Genetic research can now be tailored to the Bos indicus breeds, which will help increase the northern beef industry's productivity and profitability.

Objectives

This project aimed to create a fine-tuned and accurate assembly of a Brahman reference genome. This would allow for the identification of variation within the breed, as well as between Bos indicus and Bos taurus animals, to use as reference material for future genetic research.

Key findings

  • This project established a reference genome specific to Brahman cattle. This allows researchers and breeders to track the key genetic elements responsible for cattle traits such as tropical adaptation, fertility and meat quality.
  • This project captured an overview of the genetic diversity of major north Australian beef breeds. This information can be used to increase the productivity and profitability of cattle production in Australia.
  • Analysis identified Brahman genes specifically associated with foreshank weight gain, subcutaneous rump fat thickness, increased residual feed intake and average daily feed intake.

Benefits to industry

The availability of high quality reference genome for Australian Brahmans provides a valuable tool for beef research. The data will improve the efficiency and effectiveness of genetic selection of cattle, therefore contributing to overall productivity of the Brahman breed.

All future northern beef genomic research will be able to use the Brahman reference genome to improve productivity and profitability of the industry.

MLA action

The assembled Brahman genome is now available for use in future research and industry development. The information has been used for over 200 Brahman and related breeds located in the 1000 Bull Genome Project database.

Future research

Additional research into the genetic differences between Brahmans and other cattle breeds will help improve the productivity of the Australian beef industry. Future work should focus on genes that specifically affect the physiology and anatomy of Brahmans, to help identify the best traits to select for.

More information

Contact email: reports@mla.com.au
Primary researcher: University of Queensland