Recent research in bovine genetics has focused on characterization of the biological differences underlying phenotypic variation for qualitative and quantitative traits of economic value in existing cattle populations. The much-anticipated benefits of DNA-based tools to routinely guide selection decisions for more efficient genetic gain and widened profit margins have not been fully met since the origin of this premise over two decades ago. However, the impending release of a high-quality draft genome sequence in 2005 should mark a turning point in these efforts. The following discussion summarizes how the bovine genetics research community has positioned itself to fully utilize a genome sequence resource and frames how genome sequence information can not only be applied to better implement marker-assisted selection, but also address rising consumer concerns relative to animal well-being and food safety.
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