There is sustained growth in the number of tropical cattle, which represent more than half of all cattle worldwide. By and large, most research in tropical areas is still focused on breeds of cattle, their particular advantages or disadvantages in tropical areas, and the tropical forages or feeds that could be usefully fed to them. A consistent issue for adaptation to climate is the heat of tropical environments. Changing the external characteristics of the animal, such as color and coat characteristics, is one way to adapt, and there are several major genes for these traits. However, further improvement in heat tolerance and other adaptation traits will need to use the entire genome and all physical and physiological systems. Apart from the response to heat, climate forcing through methane emission identifies dry season weight loss as an important if somewhat neglected trait in climate adaptation of cattle. The use of genome-estimated breeding values in tropical areas is in its infancy and will be difficult to implement, but will be essential for rapid, coordinated genetic improvement. The difficulty of implementation cannot be exaggerated and may require major improvements in methodology.
Annual Review of Animal Biosciences – Annual Reviews
Published: Feb 8, 2017