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Commercial Application Of Molecular
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In the U.S., there are more than 135,000 captive deer and elk on 2,000 ranches in 42 states. Someranchers have used deer to replace or supplement traditional livestock. Primary products of deer aremeat and velvet antler, and the industry is growing. We propose to assist the industry and regulatoryagencies using molecular genetics. Ranchers want genetic tests to help establish breeding programs toenhance performance (such as antler or body growth) and avoid inbreeding. Agencies need todistinguish individuals, subspecies or species to assess effects of game ranching on wild populations.Our Phase I effort will develop methods for analysis of microsatellite loci linked to functional geneswhich affect growth, milk, and disease resistance (e.g., Major Histocompatability Complex, K-casein,insulin like growth factor 1). We will focus on elk (Cervus elaphus). We will use automated DNAtechnology to analyze ten microsatellite loci and seven loci with RFLP for each of 100 individuals. Wewill assess associations of genotypes with performance traits of families over two calf crops. Ourproject should provide a system which allows game ranchers to operate safely, and to use moderngenetic technology to enhance productivity. We anticipate the project will result in an affordable(about $50/sample) commercial testing system.
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