The aim of BovReg is to identify functions in the cow genome that are relevant to the diversity and plasticity of phenotypes in cattle with respect to robustness, health and biological efficiency.
The knowledge developed within BovReg should also be particularly applicable to small cattle breeds of regional relevance and distribution, and thus contribute to the conservation of biological diversity in farmed animals. The project includes a focus on udder health and options for reducing use of antimicrobials in animal husbandry. BovReg will enable precision breeding to make cattle farming more efficient while considering animal welfare, limited primary resources and climate change.
Dairy campus data
Wageningen Livestock Research will provide information from 2,000 research cows from the Dairy Campus, that have been monitored in the past decades. These cows have been phenotyped and genotyped extensively for milk production, udder health, fertility and feed intake. We bring in our expertise on genome-wide association studies to detect DNA variants causing phenotypic variation for these traits (work package 4). The obtained relevant functional information will be used in biology driven genomic selection models to improve genomic prediction accuracy for smaller cattle breeds (work package 7).
Global interdisciplinary team
Twenty leading laboratories from EU, Canada and Australia are participating in the BovReg-Project. Their researchers will form a global interdisciplinary team, with expertise in cattle research, bioinformatics, molecular genetics, quantitative genetics, animal breeding, reproduction physiology, ethics and social sciences. Outcomes will be integrated into the worldwide molecular-biology competence network “Functional Annotation of Animal Genomes” (FAANG) and made available to the wider scientific community. In parallel to the ENCODE initiative which is dedicated to characterize the function of the human genome, FAANG is working on the identification of functional regulators within animal genomes. The EU funded project is co-ordinated by Professor Dr. Christa Kühn, Director of the Institute of Genome Biology, FBN. The project will run for four years as part of the EU H2020 research programme.