by Lori Marion, Vice President
The genetics project is entering its final phase. The last of the tissue samples have been collected, with sheep added from Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Missouri. The sheep included represent a variety of St. Croix sheep both genetically and geographically from across the United States. Brenda Murdoch, Ph.D., of the University of Idaho Moscow, is finishing with sample analysis and will begin analyzing the full data set shortly.
To get an idea of the depth of Dr. Murdoch’s expertise in sheep genetics, read her article on the genetic structure of terminal breeds in the US. It includes detailed information and while I can’t claim to understand what an ‘eigenvalue’, or a ‘cladogram’ really is, it does give some idea of the complexity of the genetic analysis. If you aren’t overwhelmed by that study, take a look at this one. It details the genetic relationship between Caribbean Hair Sheep and West African sheep breeds.
Thank you to all the SCHSBI members across the country, who donated their time and effort to obtain the samples. We are closer than ever to learning what genetic ‘secrets’ St. Croix sheep may hold and look forward to sharing the findings with our members.