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Breeding better steak: Geneticists aim to streamline development of heat-tolerant cattle

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Image: Alta Genetics
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

For Raluca Mateescu, the battle against climate change involves an unusual task: breeding a better steak.

A researcher at the University of Florida, Mateescu is tweaking cattle genes to try to unlock one of the mysteries of Southern agriculture: developing a breed that can withstand the hot, humid weather that has become more pronounced due to climate change while still producing high-quality beef.

[Editor’s note: This is part three in a three-part series. Click here for the first part and here for the second.]

Mateescu’s work, funded in part through grants from the Department of Agriculture, is one example of how climate science and agricultural science are coming together to help livestock and crops adjust to warmer conditions.

Related article:  CRISPR crops spur farming innovation despite climate change, water shortages and exploding food demand

Mateescu’s work isn’t gene-editing, in which researchers change the DNA sequence of an animal to achieve a specific trait. That’s being done, in early stages, by companies such as Minnesota-based Acceligen …. But her work could help the process, by mapping out the genetic code so specifically that scientists know where to find a meat-quality trait, like toughness, and what to substitute in its place.

Read full, original article: Beef cattle get a genetic makeover for a warming world

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