The U.S. Department of Agriculture this week awarded more than $11 million in grants to 15 states to support research, education and outreach in animal genomics that should enhance the protection and safety of agriculture and the food supply.
Successful application of research into genetics and animal breeding will reduce the number and severity of animal disease outbreaks and decrease dependence on the widespread use of antibiotics, the USDA said in a statement.
President Obama's agriculture plan takes into account that to remain globally competitive and to continue to produce safe, nutritious products from livestock requires the application of cutting-edge genetics and breeding programs, Agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack said.
"Investing in good basic and applied research will help pinpoint genetic differences that result in superior animal products of the best quality for the consumer," Vilsack added.
The grant projects were awarded through USDA's National Research Initiative Animal Genome Program, which seeks to develop practical and science-based knowledge that can be shared with other researchers, farmers and consumers of U.S. animal products.
The awards, the largest of which is a $750,000 grant to Auburn University, also support 25 post-doctoral fellows and 15 graduate students.