Animal Genetics and Genomics Lab

profile picture of Jessica Petersen
Welcome to Animal Genetics and Genomics Lab

The focus of the Animal Genetics and Genomics lab is to identify genetic variants that act to alter phenotypic traits, and to understand how the genome responds to stressors.

The lab also works to develop new tools (e.g., breed-specific reference genomes and functional annotation) to characterize breed-specific variation and genome regulation.

Finally, we work in studies of population genetics. These studies serve to characterize current population (breed) diversity, which allows for the monitoring of change in the future. Using pedigree or historic genotype data, we also examine past changes in diversity.

Why study animal genetics?

Genetic studies of animals are exciting for several reasons. First, by learning more about how genetics influence individual traits, we can use this information to improve animal health and production. Second, because of the unique population structure of domestic species such as cattle and horses (breeds that represent nearly closed populations of animals all with very similar genetics, and with many highly related individuals), we have greater statistical power to map genes and mutations in domestic animals than we would studying diverse, outbred populations. Finally, the gene(s) that influence an animals' susceptibility to disease, their patterns of growth and metabolism, and things such as coat (hair) color, are often under similar genetic control to traits found in humans. Agricultural species such as cattle and horses are often overlooked as potential systems in which to study biology and genetics of human disease and traits.

Contact Dr. Jessica Petersen
Animal Genetics and Genomics Laboratory Alumni

Tiffany Hegdahl, Research Technologist - University of Nebraska-Omaha
Alexa Barber, Research Technologist I - University of Nebraska Medical Center
Josh Franzen, COVID Surge Staff at University of Nebraska Medical Center
Renae Sieck, Professional Services Embryologist - TransOva Genetics
Leah Treffer, Post-Baccalaureate Researcher, Crop Protection Genetics - The Land Institute
Ibrahim Hussain, Peer advisor for the Health Care and Resource Center - University of Nebraska-Omaha
Charlet Reebenaker, Admissions Specialist II - Celerion
Erin Duffy, Technical Support Specialist - 10x Genomics
Shauna (Tietze) Howe, Technical Sales Specialist in Molecular Biology and Sample Prep - Thermo Fisher Scientific

Isabel Grazian, Veterinary student - Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine
Morgan Parris, Data Analyst - Neogen Corporation
Rachel (Kubik) Burrack, Research Technologist I - Nebraska Center for Virology
Taylor Barnes, PhD student - Texas A&M
Caleb Kemnitz, Veterinary student - University of Nebraska-Lincoln/Iowa State University
Maci Lienemann, PhD Student - University of California – Davis & USDA/NIFA Predoctoral Fellow
Michele Gibbens, Trainer - Nebraska Dog Trainers
Ryan Hagenson, Biostatistician a- Yale University School of Medicine