The Holstein approach
Published May 11, 2020Some 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.” 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.