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Ge-Moo-Mics

A bull by the name of Badger-Bluff Fanny Freddie has been scientifically declared to be the best bull ever bred, says The Atlantic's Alexis Madrigal. Born in 2004, he already has 346 daughters, and his semen has become a "hot commodity," Madrigal says. "In January of 2009, before he had a single daughter producing milk, the United States Department of Agriculture took a look at his lineage and more than 50,000 markers on his genome and declared him the best bull in the land," he adds.

The dairy industry has been changed by data-driven predictions, and dairy scientists have become the "Gregor Mendels" of the 21st century, Madrigal says. Dairy farmers keep thorough records on the traits of their animals, and breeders have been able to choose a small number of key desirable traits to breed into the animals. "We're at the cusp of a new era in which genomic data starts to compress the cycle of trait improvement, accelerating our path towards the perfect milk-production machine, also known as the Holstein dairy cow," Madrigal adds. In fact, he says, breeders can choose between "genomic bulls" that have been rated solely on their genes, and "proven bulls" that have data from dairy farms and breeders backing them up. So far, it seems that the genomic bulls are producing better results than the bulls bred in the traditional manner.

The Scan

Alzheimer's Risk Gene Among Women

CNN reports that researchers have found that variants in MGMT contribute to Alzheimer's disease risk among women but not men.

Still Hanging Around

The Guardian writes that persistent pockets of SARS-CoV-2 in the body could contribute to long COVID.

Through a Little Spit

Enteric viruses like norovirus may also be transmitted through saliva, not just the fecal-oral route, according to New Scientist.

Nature Papers Present Method to Detect Full Transcriptome, Viruses Infecting Asgard Archaea, More

In Nature this week: VASA-seq approach to detect full transcriptome, analysis of viruses infecting Asgard archaea, and more.