Geneticists are developing heat-resistant 'cows of the future' to deal with Earth’s rising climate

heat-resistant cows
No, your eyes aren’t playing tricks on you: Researchers from the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences really are trying to genetic engineer heat-resistant cows of the future — and they received a three-year, $733,000 federal grant to help them achieve their goal.

The project involves the use of genomic tools to produce a new kind of bovine that has the ability to adapt to live in hot weather, while also producing top-quality beef in the process.

“Heat stress is a principal factor limiting production of animal protein and negatively affecting health and welfare of cattle in subtropical and tropical regions, and its impact is expected to increase dramatically due to climate change,” Dr. Raluca Mateescu, an associate professor in the UF/IFAS department of animal sciences, told Digital Trends. “Development of effective strategies to improve the ability to cope with heat stress is imperative to enhance productivity of the U.S. livestock industry and secure global food supplies.”

For their research, University of Florida researchers will be studying the Brangus cow, a mix between an Angus and a Brahman that is good at thriving in warm climates. They aim to pinpoint the DNA segments from the breed, and its Angus and Brahman forefathers, that let it so effectively regulate its body temperature. This will then open up new possibilities, thanks to the wonder of gene-editing technology.

“The main goal is to discover genetic variants responsible for thermal tolerance, and use this knowledge to develop genomic tools to improve thermal tolerance in cattle populations at risk of exposure to heat stress,” Mateescu said. “In-depth knowledge of the genomic variants with major effect on thermal regulation and the maturation of technologies for gene editing means that thermotolerance genes can be rapidly introduced into thermally sensitive breeds such as Angus, Simmental, and Holstein to allow producers to exploit genetic lines of cattle selected for high productivity with minimal disruption by heat stress.”

Should all go according to plan, it should not be too long before gene-editing technologies bring a whole new crop of superior heat-resistant cows to pastures around the U.S.

Emerging Tech

We tried a $500 electronic dab rig, and now we can’t go back to normal vaporizers

Induction heating is the future of cannabis vaporizers. Loto Labs wowed us with what likely is the best concentrate vaporizer on the market today. With a $500 price tag, it's expensive, but it should definitely be your next dab rig.
Movies & TV

The best movies on Amazon Prime right now (February 2019)

Prime Video provides subscribers with access to a host of fantastic films, but sorting through the catalog can be an undertaking. Luckily, we've done the work for you. Here are the best movies on Amazon Prime Video right now.
Gaming

Your PlayStation 4 game library isn't complete without these games

Looking for the best PS4 games out there? Out of the massive crop of titles available, we selected the best you should buy. No matter what your genre of choice may be, there's something here for you.
Home Theater

The best movies on Netflix in December, from 'Buster Scruggs’ to 'Roma'

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘Norsemen’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Emerging Tech

SeaBubbles’ new electric hydrofoil boat is the aquatic equivalent of a Tesla

What do you get if you combine a Tesla, a flying car, and a sleek boat? Probably something a bit like SeaBubbles, the French "flying" boat startup which offers a fresh spin on the hydrofoil.
Emerging Tech

Israel will launch world’s first privately funded moon mission tomorrow

This week will see the world's first privately funded lunar mission launch. Israel's first mission to the moon will be launched aboard SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket on Thursday, February 21.
Emerging Tech

FDA warns about the dangers of anti-aging blood transfusions

It turns out injecting old people with blood from healthy youngsters may not be the answer to health rejuvenation. That’s according to the FDA, which says such claims are dangerous junk science.
Emerging Tech

Bees can do arithmetic, setting the scientific community abuzz

A new study has found something remarkable: Bees can do basic arithmetic. Researchers showed that bees could use colors as representations for numbers and then use those colors for addition and subtraction.
Emerging Tech

DeepSqueak is a machine learning A.I. that reveals what rats are chatting about

Want to know what rats are squeaking about? You'd better check out DeepSqueak, the new deep learning artificial intelligence developed by researchers at the University of Washington.
Health & Fitness

Immune cell discovery takes us one step closer to a universal flu vaccine

A group of international researchers have made a discovery which could take us one step closer to the universal, one-shot flu vaccine that people around the world have been dreaming of.
Photography

NASA celebrates Earth’s incredible natural beauty with free photo book

NASA has published a fabulous new book featuring stunning imagery captured by its satellites over the years. A hardback version is available for $53, though it can also be downloaded to ebook readers for free, and enjoyed online.
Deals

This new all-in-one flashlight is a power bank, lighter, and screwdriver

The Pyyros modular flashlight can perform numerous field tasks, from hammering to starting fires. If you back it on Kickstarter now, you can score some savings on this innovative flashlight and multi-tool, but act fast: This early-bird…
Movies & TV

Hilarious new Kickstarter aims to fix Scorcese’s last scene in The Departed

A fan of The Departed and apparent hater of rat-as-symbolism imagery has launched a Kickstarter campaign to digitally erase the rodent from the end of Martin Scorsese’s 2006 movie.