Acta Vet. Brno 2021, 90: 145-154

Boosting the potential of cattle breeding using molecular biology, genetics, and bioinformatics approaches – a review

Monika Čechová, Michaela Andrlíková

Veterinary Research Institute, Central European Institute of Technology (CEITEC), Genetics and Reproductive Biotechnologies, Brno, Czech Republic

Received September 22, 2020
Accepted May 26, 2021

Cattle are among the most important farm animals that underwent an intense selection with the aim to increase milk production and to improve growth and meat properties, meanwhile reducing the generation interval allowing for a faster herd turnover. Recently, a shift from traditional breeding methods to breeding based on genetic testing has been observed. In this perspective, we review the techniques of molecular biology, genetics, and bioinformatics that are expected to further boost the agricultural potential of cattle. We discuss embryo selection based on next-generation and Nanopore sequencing and in vitro embryo production, boosting the potential of genetically superior animals. Gene editing of embryos could further speed up the selection process, essentially introducing a change in a single generation. Lastly, we discuss the host-microbiome co-evolution and adaptation. For example, cattle already adapted to low-quality low-cost fodder could be bred to achieve desired properties for the beef and dairy industry. The challenge of breeding and genetic editing is to accompany the selection on desired consumer-oriented traits with the push for sustainability and the adaptation to a changing climate while remaining economically viable. We propose that we are yet to see the limits of what is possible to achieve with modern technology for the cattle of the future; the ultimate goal will be to produce and maintain genetically elite individuals that can sustain the growing demands on the production.


Genomics, embryo, selection.


We thank Prof. Anger for the inspiration that led to the conception of this article, as well as for critical feedback, advice, and support. We thank Assoc. Prof. Čech for the critical reading of this manuscript. This work was supported by the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports of the Czech Republic under the project CEITEC 2020 (LQ1601).


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