University of Florida

Animal Breeding & Genetics Research

Faculty in animal breeding and genetics conduct research in biological, qualitative, quantitative, methodological, computational, and economic aspects of genetic improvement of cattle in single breed and in multibreed populations. The goals of this research are firstly the development of biological and quantitative tools to genetically improve beef and dairy cattle populations of diverse genetic backgrounds under a variety of environmental conditions, and secondly the development of economic tools to match the most profitable genetic profiles with existing ranch inputs, resources, and marketing systems.

Departmental resources include two beef cattle experimental stations, biological laboratories, and computer laboratories. The Santa Fe River Ranch Beef Unit houses a 200 Angus cow herd, and the Beef Research Unit maintains a 200 Angus-Brahman multibreed herd. Cattle from both herds are used for interdisciplinary research involving animal breeding and genetics, nutrition, management, reproduction, and production studies. Interdisciplinary research can also be conducted in collaboration with scientists at the ARS-USDA Subtropical Agricultural Research Station and the North Florida Research and Education Center (NFREC) at Mariana using Angus, Brahman, Brangus, Romosinuano, and crossbred animals.

Research in animal breeding and genetics is conducted in collaboration with scientists of various disciplines within the University of Florida, nationally, and internationally. Research collaborations include studies on beef tenderness with meat scientists, feed efficiency and profitability of selection between scientists at NFREC and USDA-ARS Fort Keogh Livestock and Range Research Laboratory, heat tolerance with scientists from ARS-USDA Subtropical Agricultural Research Station and the University of Puerto Rico, and methodological, computational, and applied aspects of genetic improvement of multibreed beef and dairy cattle populations with scientists from Meat Science, Statistics, INIFAP (Mexico), the National University of Colombia, Kasetsart University (Thailand), and the University of Chile.

The graduate program in animal breeding and genetics is applied and interdisciplinary. It integrates courses given by various departments of the University of Florida (e.g., Statistics, Computer Science, Food and Resource Economics). Graduate programs are flexible and tailored to fit the needs of individual students. Graduate students are stimulated to consider theoretical, computational, and developmental aspects in their research projects. International students are encouraged to bring data sets from their own countries for their research projects. Detailed information on areas of research and research projects can be found in individual faculty Web pages.