With the summer heat blazing down on cattle ranchers across the country, the discovery of a new way to improve heat tolerance in cattle is certainly good news. A recent news report released by USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) says scientists have the technology to pinpoint the chromosomal location of the Aslick© gene to help breeders develop cattle with shorter, slick hair to help the cattle stay cool in the subtropical heat.

Discovered at the ARS Subtropical Agricultural Research Station (STARS) in Brooksville, FL, the Aslick gene will be beneficial to help deal with heat-related problems such as reduced milk production from dairy cattle and higher death rates among beef cattle.

The STARS team has been able to map the gene location of the chromosome to begin the process of breeding for shorter, slick hair. Breeders can look forward to utilizing this genotype to economically important breeds such as Holstein and Angus.

According to studies conducted by animal scientist Chad Chase, slick-haired animals have internal temperatures about 1° F. lower during the summer months than other cattle with normal hair coats.

To read the full report, go to: www.ars.usda.gov/is/AR/archive/aug08/genomics0808.htm.