Genomic solutions to improve dairy bull fertility

PI: Francisco Peñagaricano


Peñagaricano is an assistant professor of animal and dairy sciences at UW–Madison. His research primarily focuses on development and application of methods to analyze the genetic architecture of economically relevant traits in livestock.

Fertility is an economically important trait in dairy cattle. Despite recent advances, there is room for improvement in reproductive performance for most herds, resulting in significant economic losses for dairy farmers. This project will investigate male fertility in the Jersey breed, the second most important in the country. This research team has already identified genomic regions that can impact Jersey bull fertility. The objective of this project is to identify the cause of differing conception rates using targeted DNA-sequencing. This project will deliver new genomic tools to assist dairy farmers, breeders, and artificial insemination companies responsible for accurate management and selection decisions on bull fertility. Improving reproductive performance through advancements in service sire fertility has a direct impact on farm profitability and animal health and welfare while also ensuring the long-term sustainability of the Wisconsin dairy industry. This project aligns to Dairy Task Force 2.0 recommendation #26 (‘Increased collaboration in the UW System and with private industry’).