In 2008, a consortium led by the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and the National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA) published the “Blueprint for USDA Efforts in Agricultural Animal Genomics 2008-2017,” which served as a guiding document for research and funding in animal genomics. In the decade that followed, many of the goals set forth in the blueprint were accomplished. However, several other goals require further research. In addition, new topics not covered in the original blueprint, which are the result of emerging technologies, require exploration. To develop a new, updated blueprint, ARS and NIFA, along with scientists in the animal genomics field, convened a workshop titled “Genome to Phenome: A USDA Blueprint for Improving Animal Production” in November 2017, and these discussions were used to develop new goals for the next decade. Like the previous blueprint, these goals are grouped into the broad categories “Science to Practice,” “Discovery Science,” and “Infrastructure.” New goals for characterizing the microbiome, enhancing the use of gene editing and other biotechnologies, and preserving genetic diversity are included in the new blueprint, along with updated goals within many genome research topics described in the previous blueprint. The updated blueprint that follows describes the vision, current state of the art, the research needed to advance the field, expected deliverables, and partnerships needed for each animal genomics research topic. Accomplishment of the goals described in the blueprint will significantly increase the ability to meet the demands for animal products by an increasing world population within the next decade.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The development of this Blueprint was supported by AFRI grant 2017-67015-26907 project accession “https://portal.nifa. usda.gov/web/crisprojectpages/1013525.php” 1013525 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture and support from the ARS Office of National Programs, and the National Agricultural Library.
The USDA provided leadership among Federal agencies toward advancing genomics of agricultural animals and partnered with other funding agencies, including National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Science Foundation (NSF), Department of Energy (DOE), and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The USDA also established and strengthened international partnerships with many scientific and funding bodies, such as European Commission (US-EU Task Force on Biotechnology Research, 2011), BBSRC in the United Kingdom (USDA and BBSRC, 2015), Genome Canada, CSIRO in Australia, AgResearch in New Zealand, EMBRAPA in Brazil, and INRA in France. Several large consortia were assembled as part of these collaborations to fund and coordinate large genome sequencing projects that led to the first genome assemblies for domestic poultry and livestock (African Goat Improvement Network [AGIN] Partner Organizations, 2018; USDA, 2018). In addition, several large consortia were created in direct response to proposal requests that were based on recommendations from the 2008 Blueprint document.
The development of this Blueprint was supported by AFRI grant 2017-67015-26907 project accession “https://portal.nifa.usda.gov/web/crisprojectpages/1013525.php” 1013525 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture and support from the ARS Office of National Programs, and the National Agricultural Library.