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EBVs And Genomics Increase Accuracy

21 March 2011

AUSTRALIA - For several decades the Angus breed has been at the forefront in the application of improved genetic tools to achieve faster genetic progress. In another first for the Australian beef industry, Angus Breedplan Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) have now incorporated available genomic (DNA) information.

Recently, Pfizer Animal Genetics launched a product called “Angus HD50K” for producing genomic values (called Molecular Value Predictions, MVPs) on 13 traits in the Angus breed, based on DNA samples from Angus cattle.

Research conducted by scientists at the Animal Genetics and Breeding Unit (AGBU), with assistance from Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA), Pfizer Animal Genetics and the Angus Society of Australia, has enabled MVPs for 7 of the 13 traits to be incorporated into the monthly Angus Breedplan analysis, potentially increasing the accuracy of EBVs for those animals with MVP data available.

Only the MVPs of those animals that are submitted to Angus Australia for HD50K testing with Pfizer Animal Genetics will be used in the routine Angus Breedplan analysis.

“This is an important breakthrough for industry – now all 3 sources of possible information on an animal, pedigree, its own performance and that of its recorded relatives, and its own DNA test, can be combined into a single EBV. Industry has sought this outcome, and it will help minimise confusion for breeders and producers”, said Peter Parnell, CEO of Angus Australia.

This integration of Pfizer MVPs into BREEDPLAN EBVs depends on the calibration work that has been conducted by AGBU scientists. “Calibration means establishing the accuracy of the DNA test in Australian Angus cattle, and is vital in allowing breeders to make best decisions about how to use the new DNA tests”, said David Johnston, Principal research scientist at the Animal Genetics and Breeding Unit (AGBU).

“Integration of MVPs into BREEDPLAN EBVs is a major step forward towards routine industry use of DNA testing, and would not have been possible without the cooperation between Angus Australia, Pfizer Animal Genetics, AGBU and the Breedplan team at ABRI”, said Dr Rob Banks, MLA Manager of Genetics R&D.

“Integration of DNA test results into EBVs will help breeders assess the technology for their own use, confident that it will fit into the BREEDPLAN framework, which is fundamental to accurate, effective genetic evaluation, and hence to the genetic improvement which is vital for our industry”, Dr Banks said.

This is an exciting development and leads to a new era in Australian Angus breeding where future developments in molecular genetics will further improve the ability to describe an individual animal's genetic merit.

TheCattleSite News Desk



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