Bovis ISSN 2398-2993

Introduction to genetics and genomics (Farmer Factsheet)

Contributor(s): Mark Burnell, Amy Jennings

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  • DNA (deoxyribose nucleic acid) are molecules, arranged as double helical chains, which carry the genetic coding of an animal.
  • A Gene is a section of DNA (there are about 23,000 genes known in the cow, only 10% of all the DNA!).
  • Genetics: the study of heredity, concerning a single gene or many with complex interactions.
  • Genomics: the science of studying and mapping the genomes (the DNA).
  • A Genome, is an animal’s entire genetic code contained as chromosomes (arranged as 30 pairs).
  • Chromosome: a structure made up of DNA molecules. These are in pairs, and are inhereited, one from the mother and one from the father.
  • Genotype: the entire genetic constitution of an individual which expresses the phenotype (physical appearance) of the animal. This includes both recessive and dominant genes.
  • Phenotype: the outward appearance of an animal in all of its anatomical, physiological and behavioural characteristics, as dictated by genetics and the environment.

Relevance of genomics to cattle breeding

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Breeding reliability

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Why should a dairy business consider using genomics?

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Genomic testing calves

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Will it pay off?

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Risks

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In conclusion

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