National Animal Genome Project

Over the next 20 years, demand for meat and dairy products is expected to increase 40% to 50%. Animal agriculture must evolve quickly in order to meet future production needs. Genomics—the study of an organism’s entire sequence of genes—is a driving force behind innovative agricultural technologies and practices. Using genome information to adjust breeding practices can lead to animals that are healthier, faster-growing, disease-resistant, and adapted to stressful or changing environmental conditions. Addressing these challenges can reduce costs and losses for farmers and improve public health. Higher-quality products can also increase consumer satisfaction. Furthermore, genomics can highlight new ways to manage animal agriculture systems so that they are more efficient and environmentally friendly. However, animal genome research is complicated and costly. Tools and gene sequence information are often unaffordable for individual researchers or single institutions. Some scientists may be unfamiliar with newly-available technologies and reluctant to adopt them. In order to advance animal genome research and the variety of possible uses, collaboration among researchers is essential.

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