When you think of feeding the world, sheep and goats may cross your mind. But chances are, genome sequencing doesn’t. However, that’s exactly what Iowa State Distinguished Professor of Animal Science Max Rothschild — who’s been at Iowa State for nearly 34 years — is researching. And it’s all in the name of putting an end to world hunger.
Rothschild, who is co-director of Iowa State’s Global Food Security Consortium and has been studying livestock genetics for more than 40 years, recently received the Illumina Agricultural Greater Good Initiative Grant to continue his research. This grant is designed to help universities conduct research that will improve livestock welfare and crop production to increase food supply for the developing world. Iowa State is planning to use the grant to primarily research the genetics of sheep and goats.
Iowa State will be working in collaboration with Egypt on this project. While on a trip to Egypt, Rothschild discovered he wanted to work with sheep and goats to see how they fared in dry regions. By studying these animals’ genetics, researchers will be able to decipher which genes cause diseases, resistance to heat, and many other significant characteristics. Said Rothschild about this research adventure, “There is a lot of work to do. Feeding the human population with small ruminants is very important.”
Everywhere you turn on Iowa State’s campus, you’ll run across amazing research being conducted — because our professors just happen to be experts in everything from animal genetics to aerospace engineering. What can we say? Research is in our genes.
Find out more about the Global Food Security Consortium.