Brad A. Freking
The wool has been pulled off of the sheep genome.
Combing through the animal's 2.6 billion base pairs has revealed genes that help keep sheep's coats thick and woolly. Comparing the animal's genome to other mammals' sequences also suggests that sheep split from goats and cattle a few million years ago during the late Neogene period. The results, published in the June 6 Science, could influence how sheep — a major source of wool, meat and milk — are raised.