The PLOS Genetics Research Prize was awarded to a group of UK scientists this year thanks to their ground breaking research into the genetic link between animals’ digestive tracts and the methane they produce.
The project was able to draw a link between the microbial community found in the digestive tract of host animals and the amount of methane they produce. This holds the potential to reduce methane produced by cattle and other livestock that currently represent a significant portion of greenhouse gas emissions.
In the face of growing demand for meat, the world is crying out for a more climate-friendly solution. This just might be what we’ve been looking for
By exploring the interactions between an animal’s genetic background, its diet and the composition of it’s microbial community, the research team was able to identify microbial profiles that can be used to identify cattle that can use their feed more efficiently while emitting less methane. This is hopefully the first major step toward the breeding of low emission cattle.
The winning team was made up of researcher from Scotland’s Rural College, The University of Edinburgh and The University of Aberdeen. The highly esteemed PLOS Genetics Research Prize is worth $5,000, and is awarded based on both scientific merit and the community impact of the research.
You can read the award winning article published in PLOS Genetics here.
Sarah Condie is a freelance writer based in Melbourne.
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