Breno Fragomeni, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor in Genomics at the University of Connecticut. He is currently conducting research to identify genetics that may play a role in heat tolerance in farm animals such as pigs and cattle. The goal is to be able to identify the genetics of farm animals such as cows and pigs who lose less weight or produce less milk during hot seasons and use the genomic information to identify better suited animals.
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What misconceptions are associated with genetics research. How genomic information may be used to determine which animals will perform better. How genomic selection may improve disease resistance and environmental hardiness. Dairy farmers and corporate farms would prefer an animal that may produce a little less but is more tolerant of heat stress. Dr. Fragomeni is interested in finding out whether there are any genetic aberrations that may maintain milk production in dairy cows, even during times of extreme heat. Generally, higher milk production makes cows more sensitive to heat stress. The questions are why and what mechanism causes that sensitivity to heat.
In an effort to mitigate heat stress, Dr. Fragomen is using genomic information to predict animals’ performance and applies the information when making selection and breeding decisions. The use of genetics studying the basic data collected from thousands of animals such as body weight, date of birth, and phenotypes is easier and less expensive than physically testing thousands of animals to gather data. The objective is not necessarily to identify the best gene to alleviate heat stress but to identify the animal that can best tolerate heat.
To learn more visit: animalscience.uconn.edu
Episode also available on Apple Podcasts: apple.co/30PvU9C