Scientists have tracked genetic markers for a hundred years, using artificial intelligence to know which cattle are producing more and better meat and dairy. specified that two researchers at the University of Florida are using AI to examine millions of bits of genetic data to keep cattle cooler, and therefore, more productive.

According to UF/IFAS professor Raluca Mateescu, and UF/IFAS assistant professor Fernanda Rezende, both in animal sciences, collect hundreds of thousands of information on cattle genetic traits.

As such, they are planning to use the supercomputer of UF, the HiPerGator, to examine such data. With the professor and her entire team's information from the HiPerGator, they can provide rangers with better recommendations on which animals need to be kept and bred for enhanced quality of dairy and beef.

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Science Times - AI: A Powerful Method in Animal Genomics; Helps Determine Which Cattle Produce More Meat, Dairy
(Photo: Zeynel Cebeci on Wikimedia Commons)
Researchers are using AI to examine millions of bits of genetic data to keep cattle cooler, and therefore, more productive.

AI for Animal Productivity

Mateescu explained that AI has quickly emerged as a powerful method in animal genomics and holds great potential to incorporate big data from numerous biological layers, resulting in the precise prediction of future characteristics, such as "meat yield."

The professor added that their group is examining AI approaches to develop methods to precisely forecast the value of specific genes. Eventually, elaborated Mateescu, they are planning to provide more effective strategies for improving animal productivity.

According to a similar South Central Florida Life report, with over 25 million head of cattle, as indicated in this report, dairy herds peaked in 1944 in the United States. As of 2017, there were just nine million, although they were producing more milk.

With lesser cattle that produce more dairy and beef, the livestock industries leave a lower footprint in the environment, like methane emissions, explained Mateescu.

While all that is good, elaborated the professor, she said she knows she and the other researchers can help ranchers enhance both cattle beef and dairy output, and that's where the AI work enters.

Factors of the Environment and Genetics

Commenting on their work, Mateescu said they know some of the particular genes for meat and milk production. She also said they were looking through into a bit of a black box.

AI, she continued explaining, will help them clear up the mystery quicker, not to mention, more precisely. Livestock traits of economic significance, meat and milk yield, and meat quality, are factors of both the environment and genetics.

The professor can only control the environment of a cow to a certain level. However, she and other scientists can genetically enhance cattle.

Thousands of genes exist in the cattle genome, and every gene comprises thousands of different genetic markers. As an example of the use of AI of the team, Mateescu is processing genetic data from roughly 1,000 beef cattle.

From that particular process, scientists have extracted data on over 700,000 DNA genetic markers, over 18,000 genes, and more than 80 traits on each animal. The figures are way more data compared than any human can evaluate and incorporate.


That is the reason Mateescu and Rezende are using HiPerGator, described in the UF/IFAS site as the world's largest university-based supercomputer. It tells the researchers what specific combinations of genetic markers and genes will lead to better animals, which will be cooler and, therefore, more productive.

AI enables them to use more information, the professor explained, adding, the more information they have on animals, the higher preciseness of their prediction.

Given the multifaceted genetic architecture, it is very difficult for scientists to determine how the thousands of genetic markers and thousands of genes combine to yield the traits seen. AI can help scientists reach that goal, and Mateescu said they have just started using AI to deal with such problems.

Related information about AI in dairy production is shown on Penn State Extension's YouTube Video below:


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