Bovine Industry Boon: Cow Genome Sequenced

By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 23, 2009 4:30 PM CDT
A worker milks cows on the family dairy farm in Mifflinburg, Pa.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – A 5-year, $53 million project has resulted in the sequencing of the cow genome, the Houston Chronicle reports. The results will likely take the guesswork out of breeding, but also mark the end of big-money sequencing projects. “It was pretty dumb to do the cow for $50 million when the cost will go down to $5,000 in a year or two,” a researcher said.

The price of sequencing has plummeted since the human genome was figured out over 13 years at a cost of $3 billion. “But we wouldn’t be where we are today, cost-wise, if we hadn’t done the cow,” the researcher continued. The cow genome might not have the same cachet as human, but the promise of increased milk yield and better beef is entrancing producers.