USDA’s Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service will offer $5 million in fiscal year 2008 for a four-year research project to investigate methods of using whole-genome enabled animal selection.

Whole-genome enabled animal selection scans the animal’s genome and the makeup of its DNA, then predicts its genetic merit as a potential future parent. The research will let animal breeders use genetic information to predict what an animal’s physical makeup will be and what genes will be passed to the next generation.

“The project’s goal is to move animal genome science from the laboratory to the field and the marketplace and, in the process, solve real-world problems,” says Gale Buchanan, USDA undersecretary for research, education and economics.

USDA is funding the project under the National Research Initiative’s 2008 Request for Applications. Peter Burfening, national program leader for animal genomics, developed the initiative and will coordinate it.