Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search


What's In The Sheep Genome? Wool See

What's In The Sheep Genome? Wool See

After eight years of work, researchers have completed the first sequencing of the entire sheep genome.

Scientists from CSIRO led an international research team to complete the sequencing, which could lead to more effective breeding strategies and new approaches to the management of sheep in Australia and around the world.

With about 70m head of sheep in Australia and 1bn globally, the sequencing of the genome could have a massive impact for the rural economy given that sheep are a major source of meat, milk and wool products.

“We investigated the completed genome to determine which genes are present in a process called gene annotation, which resulted in an advanced understanding of the genes involved in making sheep the unique animals that they are,” CSIRO project leader Dr Brian Dalrymple said.

“Given the importance of wool production, we focused on which genes were likely to be involved in producing wool. We identified a new pathway for the metabolism of lipid in sheep skin, which may play a role in both the development of wool and in the efficient production of wool grease (lanolin).”

Publication of the work today in the journal Science is the culmination of the project for the team, which is part of the International Sheep Genomics Consortium, involving 26 institutions across eight countries.

Another key finding from the study involved the rumen, which is a modified stomach full of micro-organisms vital for the digestion of a sheep’s diet. The rumen is essential for sheep to convert hard-to-digest plant material into animal protein, and is differentiated from the true stomach by its tough keratin-rich surface, which is very similar to skin.

Many genes normally expressed in skin are also highly expressed in the rumen, but a number of new genes were identified which are rumen-specific, as well as one which appears to be present in most mammals but has so far only been expressed in ruminants.

Sheep are also an important biomedical model, particularly in Australia, and the genomic resources built by the team will provide a strong foundation for the detailed exploration of the similarities and differences between sheep and humans at the molecular level, and hopefully lead to improved medical treatments for a number of conditions such as sepsis and asthma.


© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


Trade: NZ Trade Deficit Widens To A Record In September

Oct. 27 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand's monthly trade deficit widened to a record in September as meat exports dropped to their lowest level in more than three years. More>>


Animal Welfare: Cruel Practices Condemned By DairyNZ Chief

DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle says cruel and illegal practices are not in any way condoned or accepted by the industry as part of dairy farming.

Tim says the video released today by Farmwatch shows some footage of transport companies and their workers, as well as some unacceptable behaviour by farmers of dragging calves. More>>


Postnatal Depression: 'The Thief That Steals Motherhood' - Alison McCulloch

Post-natal depression is a sly and cruel illness, described by one expert as ‘the thief that steals motherhood’, it creeps up on its victims, hiding behind the stress and exhaustion of being a new parent, catching many women unaware and unprepared. More>>


DIY: Kiwi Ingenuity And Masking Tape Saves Chick

Kiwi ingenuity and masking tape has saved a Kiwi chick after its egg was badly damaged endangering the chick's life. The egg was delivered to Kiwi Encounter at Rainbow Springs in Rotorua 14 days ago by a DOC worker with a large hole in its shell and against all odds has just successfully hatched. More>>


International Trade: Key To Lead Mission To India; ASEAN FTA Review Announced

Prime Minister John Key will lead a trade delegation to India next week, saying the pursuit of a free trade agreement with the protectionist giant is "the primary reason we're going" but playing down the likelihood of early progress. More>>



MYOB: Digital Signatures Go Live

From today, Inland Revenue will begin accepting “digital signatures”, saving businesses and their accountants a huge amount of administration time and further reducing the need for pen and paper in the workplace. More>>

Oil Searches: Norway's Statoil Quits Reinga Basin

Statoil, the Norwegian state-owned oil company, has given up oil and gas exploration in Northland's Reinga Basin, saying the probably of a find was 'too low'. More>>


Modern Living: Auckland Development Blowouts Reminiscent Of Run Up To GFC

The collapse of property developments in Auckland is "almost groundhog day" to the run-up of the global financial crisis in 2007/2008 as banks refuse to fund projects due to blowouts in construction and labour costs, says John Kensington, the author of KPMG's Financial Institutions Performance Survey. More>>


Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news