USDA’s Agricultural Research Service Buys Fluidigm

US - The US Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) has bought Fluidigm microfluidic-based EP1 System from Fluidigm Corporation to help develop and validate focused 96- and 384-SNP (single-nucleotide polymorphism) panels for testing America’s dairy and beef cattle to ensure healthy cows and top quality product.
calendar icon 8 January 2010
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ARS scientists are collaborating with leading members of the US biotechnology industry to develop low-cost, high-throughput SNP panels that can genetically indicate cattle growth rates, disease resistance, milk productivity, health and longevity.

To date ARS has studied over 100 of the more than 50,000 previously discovered genetic markers for cattle. The project’s goal is to turn out healthier cows that produce higher-quality milk and meat for consumers while also preserving the viability of the country’s thousands of cattle ranchers and dairy farmers.

Validated SNP panels are expected to be utilized routinely in livestock breeding management. There are approximately nine million dairy cows and 35 million beef cattle in the United States.

“ARS purchased a Fluidigm EP1 System to perform focused SNP validation and testing of cattle samples. The flexibility of our system allows them to quickly reconfigure their SNP panels for each experiment and our low cost per data point will allow the industry to adopt Fluidigm’s technology broadly. Our hope is that genetic understanding and testing of these cattle can help consumers and producers of cattle in the US, and around the world, increase the output of their herds and help meet the global demand for high-quality cattle,” said Gajus Worthington, president and chief executive officer of Fluidigm.

“Increasing our genetic understanding of plants and animals and applying that knowledge to improve the world’s food supply is one of the most important developments of the 21st century.”

The ARS project is led by animal geneticist Curtis P. Van Tassell.

Under his leadership, ARS scientists are integrating newly identified molecular markers with existing data sources to determine how to raise the predictive accuracy of evaluated traits in cattle, thus increasing the rate of productivity improvement.

The project involves top researchers in government, academia and industry to find the best and most cost-effective genetic testing markers and methods to improve the quality and productivity of the country’s cattle.

TheCattleSite News Desk

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