The National Human Genome Research Institute has approved spending $50 million to sequence all the genes in cattle. The work will be done in Texas, at the Baylor College of Medicine and Texas A&M; University.
The Maryland-based research institute, which has sponsored projects to sequence the human genome as well as the collection of genes in mice, fruit flies and other animals, said it would put up half the money if the rest could be raised from other sources.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry said the state would pay $10 million and work to raise an additional $15 million, adding that the project promised benefits for human health and the biotechnology industry, as well as gains for the beef and dairy industries.
The bovine genome is similar in size to those of humans and other mammals, with an estimated size of 3 billion base pairs.
"By comparing the human genome with the genomes of different organisms, we can better understand the structure and function of human genes and thereby develop new strategies in the battle against human disease," said Francis Collins, the institute's director. "The more genomes we have, the more powerful this tool becomes."