Scientists work to develop heat-resistant 'cow of the future'

June 29, 2017 by Brad Buck, University of Florida
University of Florida scientists are working to breed the “cow of the future” by studying the more heat-tolerant Brangus cow -- a cross between an Angus and a Brahman. Credit: Raluca Mateescu, UF/IFAS

University of Florida scientists are working to breed the "cow of the future" by studying the more heat-tolerant Brangus cow—a cross between an Angus and a Brahman.

Raluca Mateescu, an associate professor in the UF/IFAS department of , is part of a team of UF/IFAS researchers that has received a three-year, $733,000 federal grant for this research.

"The grant allows us to track down DNA segments from the two breeds and figure out which regions of the cow's DNA are important to regulate body temperature," Mateescu said.

More than half the cattle in the world live in hot and humid environments, including about 40 percent of in the United States, Mateescu said. By using genomic tools, researchers aim to produce an animal with superior ability to adapt to hot living conditions and produce top-quality beef.

Long-term, UF/IFAS researchers want to develop the knowledge and tools the cattle industry needs to increase tolerance to heat stress. At the same time, researchers hope to increase efficiency in production, reproduction and meat quality.

"This offers a powerful new approach to address the challenges of climate change and develop climate-smart productive for a future, hotter world," Mateescu said.

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