BCRC: What is Genomics?

Genomics studies the structure, function, evolution and mapping of DNA and genomes. It deals with the complete set of genes and genetic material found in a cell or organism.

Genomic technologies draw both producer interest and research investment in the beef industry. Seedstock selection is one common application, but genomics has found widespread adoption in forage and feed grain breeding, diagnostic tests, vaccine development, source attribution for food safety recalls and other uses.

cattle_hair_dna_sample_3DNA is the genetic code that determines how an organism grows, what it looks like, and how it performs in a specific environment. Found in all living things, DNA gets passed from one generation to the next, allowing these organisms to maintain or improve their ability to survive and thrive.

DNA is a long chain, with each link of the chain containing a pair of four small molecules, known as base pairs. These molecules are abbreviated by the letters A, T, G, and C. This long chain is then coiled tightly into chomosomes. All cells in an organism contain a complete copy of that organism’s full genetic code.

Each cell has specialized machinery that reads the DNA code three letters at a time. These three-letter codes instruct the cellular machinery to start reading at a specific point. From that point, the base pairs code for specific amino acids, then finally a three-letter code instructs the cellular machinery to stop reading.

Click to continue reading about the use of genomic tests in beef cattle, including cautions… 

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Source: Latest from Beef Cattle Research Council