Project performance report December 2014

Project: Improved effectiveness of targeted grazing through genetic selection

Principal Investigators:

Dr. D.F. Waldron Dr. P.K. Riggs

Texas A&M AgriLife Research Texas A&M University

The objective of this project was to utilize transcriptome analysis to investigate variation in juniper consumption by goats.

This project was a discovery experiment designed to generate new hypotheses to drive genomics-based research to expand our knowledge of mammalian transcriptomes, as well as application of that knowledge to metabolism of compounds that exist in forage plants. Our goal was to identify metabolic gene sequences so that we could begin to conduct functional analyses to better understand how some goats are able to utilize juniper, an undesirable pasture plant, and metabolize monoterpenes. Ultimately, we wish to enhance our ability to select goats for biological control of juniper. At the same time, we want to better understand metabolic gene activity that occurs in the liver.

Anticipated outcomes for this project at the time of proposal were that we would identify metabolism genes in the goat for which sequence was not available, to develop new assays for expression analysis in goat, and to identify previously unknown transcripts relevant to juniper consumption and metabolism.

This basic research project has been successful and fruitful, leading to advances in small ruminant research, undergraduate training, and has enhanced US involvement in development of international goat genome resources.