Animal Genomics Research Grants Announced

December 5th, 2005

A total of $175,000 has been awarded to 19 projects in the fall 2005 research grants provided through the Iowa State University Center for Integrated Animal Genomics (CIAG).

The grants, funded by the College of Agriculture, Agriculture and Home Economics Experiment Station and Office of the Vice Provost for Research, provide support for genomics infrastructure research needs and for research personnel working with CIAG faculty. Since its inception in 2002, CIAG has awarded more than $450,000 to support animal genomics research on campus.

Max Rothschild, CIAG director and a Charles F. Curtiss Distinguished Professor of Agriculture in the Department of Animal Science, said the projects funded by these grants are working to discover new information about a variety of genetic problems in chickens, pigs, cattle, cats, dogs, mice and worms. "The goal is to improve the animal products produced, and to improve animal and human health. The grants also further the goals of CIAG to promote collaboration and enhance research competitiveness in genomics areas," he said.

"In addition to the support of personnel provided by the research support grants, the new infrastructure grants aid researchers in maintaining valuable animal lines or families containing special genetics for diseases or certain production characteristics. These include cats and dogs with diseases that affect humans, or valuable animal lines that are sensitive to environmental changes," Rothschild said.

The Center for Integrated Animal Genomics is one of Iowa State's presidential initiatives. It is made up of an interdisciplinary group of 75 Iowa State faculty from five colleges who use animal genomics, microbial genomics, comparative genomics and bioinformatics to identify, map and understand the function and control of genes. CIAG's goal is the improvement of animal production and animal and human health.

Projects and recipients of new research support grants are:Designing zinc fingers for animal functional genomics - Drena Dobbs, genetics, development and cell biology.Collaborative building environment of animal trait ontology - Vasant Honavar, computer science; Jim Reecy, animal science.Experimental evolutionary genomics of a nematode - Fred Janzen, ecology, evolution and organismal biology.Genetic regulation of phosphorus utilization in swine - Chad Stahl and Max Rothschild, animal science.Seven research support grants were renewed for an additional year:
Building a comprehensive model of pathogen-host interactions during persistent infections - Karin Dorman, statistics/genetics, development and cell biology.Statistical methods for fine mapping of quantitative trait loci (QTL) - Rohan Fernando and Jack Dekkers, animal science.Support of graduate research assistant in physiological immunogenomics - Susan Lamont, animal science.Functional genomics of Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae - Chris Minion, veterinary microbiology and preventive medicine.Molecular mechanisms regulating muscle growth and meat quality - James Reecy, animal science.Identification of genes underlying quantitative trait loci (QTL) for traits of economic importance in pigs - Max Rothschild, animal science.Using functional genomics to improve food safety through reducing disease incidence in pigs - Chris Tuggle, animal science; Dan Nettleton, statistics.Projects and recipients of new research infrastructure grants are:
Establishment and characterization of large animal models of human ocular, cranio-facial neurological and muscle diseases - Matthew Ellinwood, animal science; Gillian McLellan and Karen Kline, veterinary clinical sciences; Elisabeth Huff-Lonergan, animal science.High-throughput 2-D gel electrophoresis equipment - Elisabeth Huff-Lonergan , James Reecy, Steven Lonergan and Matthew Ellinwood, animal science.Experimental selection lines to assess genomic responses to climate change in a model nematode - Fred Janzen, ecology, evolution and organismal biology.Development of transgenic mice to study the regulation of gene expression in the ovary - Carolyn Komar, animal science.Four research infrastructure grants were renewed for an additional year:
Selection lines for residual feed intake in pigs - Jack Dekkers, animal science.Support of unique genetic resources of specialized lines of chickens at ISU - Susan Lamont, Jack Dekkers and Steven Lonergan, animal science; Dan Nettleton, statistics.Molecular mechanisms controlling cardiac and skeletal muscle growth and development - James Reecy and Elizabeth Lonergan, animal science.Maintenance of prolific Meishan breeding herd as a valuable and unique genetic resource - Chris Tuggle, Jack Dekkers and Tim Stahly, animal science.More information about CIAG and its programs is online at


Max Rothschild, Center for Integrated Animal Genomics, (515) 294-6202,
Susan Thompson, Communications Service, (515) 294-0705,