Elk Research Foundation

Project 1902 - Elk DNA Genomic Sequencing Collection

The Elk Research Foundation collected DNA samples from farmed elk across the United States and Canada in hopes of learning more about elk sequencing technologies. The ERF is working with Dr. Chris Seabury of Texas A&M University, who is developing a whitetail and mule deer genome.

In 2018, Dr. Seabury resented the benefits of his ongoing research on the whitetail and mule deer genome at the United States Animal Health Association (USAHA) conference. In contrast, very little research of this kind has been performed on North American Elk. The Elk Research Foundation hopes to change that in the future.

The technology for deer is allowing the possibility for more genetic trends to be identified, which may help pin point susceptibility to diseases such as Chronic Wasting Disease.

The ERF is collaborating with Dr. Seabury on how comprehensive sequencing and a genome for elk can be accomplished. There are several steps to take place in the process, but collecting elk DNA samples was the first targeted goal.

Over several months, the ERF requested elk owners pull DNA hair samples from their animals when they run them through their handling facilities.

Minnesota elk owner, Mark Luedtke, attended the Seabury seminar at the USAHA conference and saw the need for the elk industry to join the research. "It was evident how much is being learned about whitetail deer and the elk industry is falling behind on this research. I encourage the ERF and industry breeders to provide samples and see what we can learn in this direction," Luedtke said.

The ERF labeled this project complete in May 2019 and approved ERF Project 1903 as the next step in the process.

The ERF thanks all the ranches that helped this project by submitting samples.

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