Confirming A2 Alleles using Luminescence in the Field (Ca2LF)
Small dairy farmers in upstate New York are struggling to survive in a factory-farming marketplace. To increase profits, some farmers are producing specialty products; one such product in the US is A2 milk. A2 milk differs from the more common A1 milk in the sequence of beta-casein, one of the main milk proteins. The gene that codes for the A1/A2 alleles of beta-casein differs by a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP). A2 milk is growing in popularity in the US due to purported health benefits. Our team aims to create a field-deployable genetic test to facilitate breeding of A2 herds. Our system utilizes a 5’ Flap endonuclease (Flappase) and quenched-oligonucleotides that differentially bind to the A1/A2 alleles of beta-casein. When in the correct conformation, Flappase will cleave the oligonucleotides, dequenching the fluorescent tag. Dairy farmers using this system will be able to rapidly identify cows carrying the A2 allele for breeding.