The Holstein approach

Published May 11, 2020

Some folks want to bring back dinosaurs or wool­ly mam­moths. But Penn State sci­en­tists are look­ing at some­thing a bit more recent: Holstein cows.

Holsteins are great milk pro­duc­ers, but they’re sore­ly lack­ing in gener­ic diver­si­ty: “[M]ore than 99 per­cent of Holstein bulls born using [arti­fi­cial insem­i­na­tion] in the last decade trace their male lin­eage to just two bulls born in the 1960s.”

The Netherland Prince, gone but not forgotten

They’ve start­ed by using semen sam­ples in the National Animal Germplasm Program’s library*, and are bring­ing back two breeds: the Netherland Prince and the Colantha line. They have 15 calves already and plan to mate the bulls with mod­ern females when they’re ready.

* Not available via your Overdrive account
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