In the July issue of the Journal of Dairy Science, researchers from Belgium describe a novel method using genomics that allows rapid detection of cows developing mastitis by analyzing a sample of milk from the farm’s bulk tank. They developed a simple linear model to estimate the contribution of individual cows to the genomic DNA present in the tank milk from:

  • The known genotypes of individual cows for the interrogated single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP). 
  • The ratio of SNP alleles in the tank milk.

The method is currently limited by the fact that it requires that all cows are genotyped with SNP arrays, but the scientists suggest this will increasingly become reality as genomic selection is more widely used.