New Zealand farmers may soon be able to breed cows that don't mind the heat.
The country's Livestock Improvement Corporation has discovered that cows with a "slick" genea variation of the gene that makes them shorter and less susceptible to heat stressare able to withstand colder temperatures better than their non-slick counterparts, reports the Country.
"Before we offer heat-tolerant genetics to farmers, we need to understand the slick animals' response to cold conditions, from the more tropical north of New Zealand to the colder south," says LIC chief scientist Richard Spelman.
In cold-sensitivity trials, cows with the "slick" gene were exposed to lower temperatures than their non-slick counterparts, and the results showed that the slick calves did not suffer any ill effects.
"The results are promising for the future suitability of the slick variation across New Zealand," says Spelman, who notes that farmers will be able to breed heat-tolerant cows by 2029.
The trials are part of LIC's wider heat-tolerance research, launched in 2014 when its scientists first discovered the "slick" gene.
The research includes a slick breeding program and, separately, a study to better understand heat stress on animals and the on-farm impacts
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