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.
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