In 10 short years, the National Animal Germplasm Program (NAGP) has grown dramatically.

The program opened in Fort Collins, Colo., in 2000 with genetic material from 40 chicken lines. Since then, the collection has expanded to include dairy and beef cattle, swine, sheep, goats, bison, elk and fish. Today, NAGP houses more than 547,000 samples of genetic material, or germplasm, from more than 12,000 animals.

Providing genetic material for genomic studies is one of the most important functions these collections serve. NAGP, for example, has distributed samples from about 2,500 animals to USDA-Agricultural Research Service researchers and their university colleagues. ARS scientists have used bull semen acquired from NAGP to genotype prominent bulls that had sired dairy cattle. This information, combined with milk-production data gathered from those cows, has been used to improve dairy cattle breeding programs.

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Source: USDA-Agricultural Research Service