Question , what fatal illness costs the beef industry over 60 million dollars a year, one hint.. it also effects some extreme athletes. I’m Susan Allen, stay tuned for Open Range , because I’ll be right back with an answer. Now you would think grazing in the tall timbers of high country would be the most bucolic environment a cow could ask for but just like humans ,bovines not accustomed to mountain terrain can suffer from high altitude disease. Now if you have ever gasped for breath hiking in Colorado or Wyoming you have an inkling how cattle suffer only for the cow the inability to process oxygen can cause fluid build- up and many cases death. Out of the approximately 2 million cattle that spend their summers in at high elevations thousands will develop the disease that causes high blood pressure and succumb either in the mountains or in the feed lot. Yet cattle that are raised at high elevations do well . Why, well that is what New Mexico State University students are studying at a facility in the Valles Caldera National Preserve with the help of ranchers who send cattle to the center to be studied. They, plus researchers at Colorado State are hoping to find DNA markers that would show if a certain type or breed of cattle is more susceptible to high altitude disease meaning if genes were isolated ranchers who run cattle in mountainous terrain could make sure to breed animals that would flourish in that situation and saving countless others from a cruel fate.