Biology

Scientists look to breed heat-resistant cows for a hotter planet

Scientists look to breed heat-...
The Brangus was bred to draw on the best traits of both the Angus and Brahman cow
The Brangus was bred to draw on the best traits of both the Angus and Brahman cow
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The Brangus was bred to draw on the best traits of both the Angus and Brahman cow
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The Brangus was bred to draw on the best traits of both the Angus and Brahman cow

The bovine world's answer to Brangelina, the Brangus cow, is a desirable species bred through the 20th century that has proven resistant to heat and humidity. These traits have led scientists to study the Brangus, a mix of the Angus and Brahman cattle, as they look to engineer a new type of cow capable of withstanding a warming planet.

The Brangus was bred to draw on the best traits of both the Angus and Brahman cow. Taking the disease resistance, hardiness and maternal instincts of the Brahman and the high-grade carcass quality of the Angus has led to popular breed now found all over the US, Mexico, Australia and parts of South America and Africa.

But it is the Brangus' tolerance to heat that has scientists at the University of Florida (UF) interested. They have set out to develop an animal capable of thriving in hot living conditions and still producing top-quality beef, and have just received a three-year US$733,000 federal grant to pursue that aim.

"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," says Raluca Mateescu, an associate professor at UF's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

Food security is a key concern as the planet continues to warm and the global population continues to grow. The team hopes to not only develop cattle that is more tolerant of heat, but can be produced more efficiently and is of higher meat quality.

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

Source: University of Florida

7 comments
Bob
Will this be selective cross breeding or genetic engineering?
VincentWolf
I think were going to need to breed heat resistant humans too when Trump heats the planet up 20 degrees with all his plans to sell more oil, gas, coal, etc.
Kjbee42
Brangus cattle have been used in Northern Australia for years. Nothing new about this breed of cows in this part of the world.
Bob Stuart
This is as wrong-headed as the tar sands. Raising beef is a major cause of global warming, and cattle are the least efficient meat producers. If we don't go vegan, we will only delay our own population crash by taking out far more other species.
Grumpyrelic
Hey guys! Precooked beef on the hoof. I will be able to do without my politically incorrect BBQ. Perhaps we could also use this process to acclimatize the "tax the carbon" people so they will appreciate the eternal heat more in their after life.
ezeflyer
Vincent Wolf, heat resistant people already exist. See the Bushmen of the Kalahari, the Australian Aborigenes, the Tuaregs of the Sahara and more. Heat intolerant whites may be in trouble.
ljaques
Instead of selective cross-breeding, I'm certain this will be GE. I mean, why would @vincentwolf's friends waste the money developing things for us evil, deplorable meat eaters? The thing is, animals are now living in 129F temps in southern India. They already have the tendency to match environmental changes, so why worry in the first place? After all, the true data bodes poorly ONLY in Vince & Co's computer models.