Short Course To Look At Beef Cattle Cloning May 3-5 In Gainesville

By:
Ed Hunter (352) 392-1773 x 278

Source(s):
Karen Moore kmoore@animal.ufl.edu, (352) 392-1958
Bob Sand (352) 392-7529

GAINESVILLE — The latest applications of cloning in the beef cattle industry will be one highlight of the 49th annual Beef Cattle Short Course, May 3-5 at the Sheraton Hotel in Gainesville. The course is being presented by the University of Florida Department of Animal Sciences.

Karen Moore, an assistant professor with UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, will discuss how cloning techniques can help cattlemen improve their businesses by providing a uniformly superior product.

“Ranchers will be able to take those exceptional cows or bulls and make as many duplicates as needed,” said Moore, a UF/IFAS molecular embryologist. “That’s going to allow the beef industry to expand those genetically elite animals and make them more affordable to commercial cattlemen.”

“Right now, only the purebred breeders can afford those elite animals. This will allow more people to use them,” she said.

According to Moore, elite animals are cows or bulls that have desirable traits, such as tender meat or heat tolerance or disease resistence. She said cloning allows producers to ensure that certain genetic traits are passed on to the genetically identical cloned calves.

“You can have an excellent cow and an excellent bull and expect something exceptional but a lot of times that doesn’t work out,” Moore said. “Now we can take cells from a proven animal and reproduce that animal.”

Moore said that in addition to having similar traits like tenderness, cloned animals provide benefits before they are even sold.

“If producers send cloned calves to the feed lots, the calves are going to be identical,” Moore said. “They can all be fed the same diet and will require similar healthcare.

“It will cut down on a lot of management issues and all the meat products will be uniform,” she said.

But cloning is not the only topic on the agenda for the short course, according to Bob Sand, a UF/IFAS associate professor of animal sciences who is a co-chair of the event.

“The goal of the short course is to bring Florida cattle producers up to speed on all the latest information regarding cattle reproduction,” Sand said. “If you look at national cattle reproduction rates, Florida lags a bit behind.

“There are a lot of factors that affect the number of calves born each year. For our producers to remain competitive, they have to know what’s going on so they can make intelligent choices,” he said.

UF faculty and 15 scientists from across the United States will discuss the latest biotechnology advancements in cattle reproduction. Robert Collier, a University of Arizona professor of animal science, will deliver the keynote address, “Developments in Reproductive Biotechnology That Will Improve the Weaned Calf Crop,” on Wednesday morning. Sand said Collier has been on the cutting edge of biotechnology in animal production for many years in both the private sector and university settings.

Registration for the conference is $100. For more information, call (352) 392-5930 or visit the conference Web site at: http://www.ifas.ufl.edu/~conferweb/beef/.

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