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How Good It Is to Have Livestock and How to Improve It

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    It was a day like most other, me and my papa were driving through the pasture looking at the cattle. I was lost in thought watching the calves chasing after the truck waiting for food. All of the sudden the truck stopped, quickly scanning the area for a problem, not finding anything wrong, I glanced over at my papa. He was watching his favorite cow, all of the sudden he said “That old cow over there might not look like much, but she gives us a calf every year”.

    At that moment it hit me how important making sure we had cows that would calf every year, that they needed to be good enough so we could make a profit. As we started to drive off I realized that we were lucky this year, we didn’t lose any calves or cattle, but others aren’t that lucky. This made me begin to think about what I could do to help us have better cattle. To where we could have the best of the best. To where we could pick the traits that we wanted. So my research began, I started with how we could possibly improve the cattle that we already had. Then I realized, we need to focus on the future. How can we improve the future with what we have now? The answer is Embryonic Stem Cells.

    Embryonic Stem Cells. What are they? How can they help us? Arding to Science Daily “Embryonic Stem Cells are from the inner cell mass of preimplantation blastocysts.” Although Embryonic Stem cells are nothing new to humanity, the new ways to harvest and collect them are impressive as well as the new way to manipulate the cells for better use. They are taken from embryos that are three to five days old. Through years of study and research we now know that embryonic stem cells can mature into all types of tissue from skin to muscles to bones. Access to these versatile cells from cows, and the ability to keep them in their primitive state in a petri dish would allow us to tweak and preserve useful genetic traits of beef and dairy cows. This could lead to more tender meat, produce more milk, fewer complications in birth, and possibly have a greater resistance to disease. If researchers and scientist are able to generate gametes from the stem cell lines, then the breeding of genetically superior cattle could decrease the amount of time it takes to produce them. Which in turn could allow us to have better cattle and livestock in a shorter amount of time, rather than waiting years just to perfect one bloodline.

    Now we must ask ourselves, how can we preserve the cells once we have them? The answer is simple, it’s all in the cells’ culture conditions. Certain culture conditions might finally sustain embryonic stem cells from livestock, which could make it easier to improve the animals’ genetics to preserve it. The growth of bovine embryonic stem cells in culture is influenced by the type and preparation of the feeder layer, the passage method and the medium.Although isolation and characterization of embryonic stem cells have been successful in cattle, maintenance of bovine embryonic stem cells in culture remains difficult.

    To get the cells to stay stable the scientist have to use a accelerator and a brake at the same time. The results are promising, cells retained their purpilent state for over a year while they were in the lab. Once stabilized, the cells can proliferate unlimitedly in culture while retaining pluripotency, the ability to generate a multitude of cell types and tissues. Although years of research have been conducted, the derivation of stable Embryonic Stem Cells in bovine species remains challenging. You might be thinking how does this tie in with helping agriculturalist with their cattle? Once scientist are able to get the cells stable, they can modify and continue to grow the cells in a petri dish. Which in turn would allow us to be able to modify the cells to have the traits that are desired. Giving us a cow that could’ve taken years to perfect it’s bloodline.

    So now that we now how Embryonic Stem Cells work, what can they do for us and our cattle in the future? Now with one cow that has been genetically altered we don’t have to wait for a perfect bloodline. We created one. This means we don’t have to worry about harvesting the cells anymore, once we have one with the traits we desire, we can go back to breeding normally. We also don’t have to worry about diseases, complications in birth, we now have more tender meat, and can produce more milk. Which would increase the income from the cattle that you will have from this one cow. All of this means that you wouldn’t have to worry about spending thousands of dollars on one cow that came down sick, one that is having trouble in birth, or one that isn’t producing enough milk that you need. We would be able to worry less about what could go wrong and focus on what is right and how that one cow could change the future of not one but possibly millions of people’s lives.

    While the effects of the Embryonic Stem Cells are positive, what about it’s cost? The procedure for the cells can cost up to five thousand dollars alone. That’s not including the time it would take to continue to grow the cells in lab until they are able to be placed back with their owner. Due to the straining process of getting the cells, then the attempts to get them stable. This doesn’t even include the many weeks in the lab trying to modify the cells, and the unsuccessful attempts. So is it really worth going through a straining process that’s worth thousands of dollars? The answer to that depends on what you really want out of Embryonic Stem Cells. While the cost of the procedure, growing, and modifying of the cells can cost a lot, in the long run the costs even out. You wouldn’t have to pay as much for vet bills or worrying about losing that one calf. According to one cattle farmer, “On a yearly average cattle farmers can spend 100,000 thousand dollars a year,” just on their cattle alone.

    That’s including medication, feed, water, and basic care needs. When you modify the genes you wouldn’t have to worry about losing that calf, or worry about buying things that regular cattle would need. So what does this mean? Are the Embryonic Stem Cells worth it? With new research, studies, and results coming out everyday, we can see that they have a positive effect and will continue to give that positive effect. To answer the question, of is it worth it? Yes, the cost effects of modifying the cells will even out with the cost of taking care of cattle for one year. So we can less time thinking and wondering what our next generation of cattle will be like. If they’ll be good enough to make profit or if they’ll even survive through the birth without complications. This is what Embryonic Stem Cells can do for us. It can reduce our worrying and stress because we were able to modify the genes and possibly make it to where the cattle would have fewer diseases. These cells are nothing new, but with the new ways that we can use them will be extremely helpful for farmers all over the world.

    Now I realized that after all the time I spent worrying about our cattle and ways to fix them the solution was right there next to me, literally. One cow of our choosing could change everything for not just us, but everyone around us. Embryonic Stem cells are not anything new, but the new ways that they can change our lives are endless. As we continued on through the pasture I knew that Embryonic Stem Cells would help us. We wouldn’t have to worry so much about what could go wrong. For once my mind was at ease, we were able to finally plan on a stable future for the whole family. But this won’t affect just us, it will effect everyone around us in many ways. This is the future of cattle, and we are ready. Are you?

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    How Good It Is to Have Livestock and How to Improve It. (2022, Mar 12). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/how-good-it-is-to-have-livestock-and-how-to-improve-it/

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