Development of an IGS multi-breed heifer pregnancy EPD and understanding the genetics of methane production are the two projects funded by the 2020 Walton –Berry Graduate Student Support Grants.
Drs. Scott Speidel, R. Mark Enns, and Milt Thomas with their Ph.D. student, Lane Giess at Colorado State University will use the funding to support developing a multi-breed Heifer Pregnancy EPD, a long-held priority for the IGS genetic evaluation. In addition to the model development, guidelines for the standardized collection of data will be presented to the IGS-partner breed organizations. This research plans to provide a more thorough understanding of the genetic control of heifer pregnancy, contributions of heterosis, genomic markers, and genetic correlations of heifer pregnancy to other traits.
Dr. Megan Rolf and her M.S. student, Andrew Lakamp, at Kansas State University will use the funding to support their research into the genetic control of methane production in beef cattle including estimating variance components and heritabilities of methane production, genetic correlation of methane production and other economically relevant traits, and identification of genomic markers related to methane production.
The Walton–Berry Graduate Student Support Grant, originally started by Jim Berry of Wildberry Farms, honors Dr. Bob Walton’s lifelong efforts in animal breeding and raising Simmental cattle. This grant aims to help train future animal breeders and advance our knowledge of applied livestock genetics offering up to two grants per year.
2013 – Drs. Jennifer Bormann, Bob Weaber, Dan Moser, and Mike MacNeil from Kansas State University. Funds used to support graduate student stipend and living expenses for a collaborative research project in quantitative and molecular genetics in beef cattle at the US Meat Animal Research Center.
2014 – Dr. Jennifer Thomson, Montana State University. Funds used to study the genetics and objective measurements of temperament in beef cattle. 2014 – Dr. Stephanie McKay, The University of Vermont. Funds used to characterize the brain methylome in steers with extreme measures of docility
2015 – Dr. Heather Huson, Cornell University. Funds used to study the genetics of digital Cushion Thickness and pay travel expenses for a graduate student to present research findings at an international conference in Sweden. 2015 – Dr. Megan Rolfe, Oklahoma State University. Funds used to analyze genetic links to water intake in beef cattle.
2016 – Dr. Jerry Taylor, University of Missouri. Funds used to identify potentially lethal haplotypes in beef cattle.
2017 – Dr. Jared Decker, University of Missouri. Funds used for graduate student travel to Beef Improvement Federation meetings and develop extension publications.
2017 – Drs. Scott Speidel, Milton Thomas, and R. Mark Enns, Colorado State University. Funds used to investigate stayability genetic predictions using endpoints beyond six years of age.
2018 – Dr. Jason Ahola, Colorado State University. Funds used to study beef cow mature size across varying environments.
2018 – Dr. Lauren Hanna, North Dakota State University. Funds used to characterize efficiency traits in the commercial beef cow herd.
2019 – Dr. Hao Cheng, University of California. Funds used to build a faster genomic prediction tool.
2019 – Dr. Jared Decker, University of Missouri. Funds used to support graduate research to study abroad at the University of Edinburgh’s Roslin Institute in Scotland looking at genomic signatures of selection to apply to population genetics.
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