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Better Cows

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is infusing $40 million into livestock research, BBC News reports.

"For over a billion people living in the world's poorest countries, agriculture and livestock are a lifeline out of poverty," Gates says, according to the BBC.

In particular, the funds are going to the UK's Global Alliance for Livestock Veterinary Medicines, which conducts agricultural research. In a statement, Bill Gates says the investment will bolster the number of vaccines, medicines, and diagnostics available to smallholder farmers.

The UK's Times adds that the Gates Foundation is also reaffirming its commitment to research at Edinburgh University into livestock genetics. Researchers there, it says, are investigating disease resistance and milk production among cattle with the goal of informing breeding decisions.

"A lot of work like this started many years ago, with people crossing locally adapted animals with high-milk producing animals," Appolinaire Djikeng, the director of the Centre for Tropical Livestock Genetics and Health at Edinburgh, tells the Times. "It's been a hit and miss thing though. With the precision we have, we can now look at the parts of genomes we really need."