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May 2021


 Bozeman, MT — The first reference-quality genome assemblies for the iconic North American Yellowstone bison and the Simmental cattle breed have been published in the Journal of Heredity. Animal genome assemblies provide genetic “blueprints” for how they develop and pass on information to their offspring.

The bison assembly will be used in conservation efforts to maintain genetic diversity, and to study bison evolution by comparing DNA obtained from fossil specimens sampled from permafrost in the Arctic Circle. The Simmental cattle assembly will contribute to an international effort to survey existing cattle breeds around the world to preserve their genetic diversity and identify variation useful for improving beef and dairy traits in different environments. The two genomes are released together because of the unusual way they were created: a single individual hybrid animal from a bison bull and a Simmental cow. Each cell of the hybrid animal contained one copy of the bison and one copy of the Simmental cattle genome. 

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