Monday, October 28, 2013

Beef Improvement Federation to Host Genetic Prediction Workshop
Dec. 12-13, in Kansas City, Missouri

The Beef Improvement Federation (BIF) will host a Genetic Prediction Workshop in Kansas City, MO on December 12-13, 2013 at the Holiday Inn KCI Airport and KCI Expo Center, 11728 NW Ambassador Drive.

The conference is designed to give academic, allied industry, breed association staff and cattle producers a forum to learn about and discuss the latest developments in beef cattle genetic evaluation strategies. The implementation of genomics technologies in national cattle evaluation systems will be the focus of discussion.  Speakers will highlight the experiences and current status of technology deployment at several major US breed associations, experiences developing genomic predictions of genetic merit and alternate strategies for computation of genomically enabled EPDs. The conference will also feature discussion of planned modifications to the system used to compute the Across Breed EPD adjustment factors at the US Meat Animal Research Center.

A USDA multi-state project (NCERA-225) focused on implementation and strategies for national beef cattle genetic evaluation will meet prior to the Genetic Prediction Workshop. This meeting will feature station reports and research updates from a number of committee members.
Registration for the BIF Genetic Prediction Workshop is $100 and includes a buffet breakfast, lunch, dinner and breaks during the conference. For NCERA committee members, an additional registration of $25 is required and includes a breakfast and break for this portion of agenda. Attendees must preregister for the events by December 1, 2013. Online registration and full agenda is available at in the ‘Upcoming Beef Events’ section.

LODGING: A room block is available through November 8, 2013 at the Holiday Inn KCI Airport. Room rates are $92 plus applicable tax and are available the nights of December 11 and 12.  Conference attendees should call the hotel reservations department directly at 1-800-957-4654 and identify themselves with the NCERA-225 & BIF Genetic Prediction Workshop block.  Reservations made after 11/8/2013 are accepted based on room type and group rate availability. 

For more information about the BIF Genetic Prediction Workshop or the NCERA-225 meeting please contact Dr. Bob Weaber at 785-532-1460 or or Lois Schreiner at 785-532-1267 or

Story by: Bob Weaber

For more information:

Dr. Bob Weaber – 785-532-1460 or

Monday, October 21, 2013

Genomics, Ancestry, and a Contest!

In addition to DNA variants' utility in predicting EPDs, disease risk, and other traits, they are also very useful in predicting an individual's ancestry. The most common use of this in livestock is parentage verification or testing. But DNA variants can also be used to look at relationships over much longer time scales. For example, my coauthors and I have used SNPs to look at relationships among ruminant species and breeds of cattle.

Last week I sent 10 mL of my saliva to 23andMe to for processing and DNA testing. This is the human equivalent of genomic-enhanced EPDs (although 23andMe uses different statistical methods). In addition to finding out if I carry specific genetic disorders and my risk for common diseases, I will also find out about my ancestry.

One of the interesting things we have learned from sequencing ancient genomes is that most humans from Europe or Asia have Neanderthal ancestry. So, as part of my 23andMe results I will learn what percent of Neanderthal ancestry I have.

So, here is the contest. Whoever has the closest guess to my percentile rank for the amount of Neanderthal ancestry will win a $20 gift certificate to Texas Roadhouse, or another steak house of their choosing. Your guess must be a number between 0 and 100. A guess of 0 would mean I have no Neanderthal DNA and I am likely from Africa. A guess of 100 would mean I have the most Neanderthal DNA of any living human. A guess of 50 would mean that I have an average amount of Neanderthal DNA. Guesses must be made in the comment section of this blog, guesses on any other social networking site will not be accepted. Contest will run till November 5th, 2013. Ties will be broken by whoever posted their guess first. Extra points will be given for the funniest jokes!
reconstruction: John Gurche; photograph: Tim Evanson
Guess away!

*NOTE: There were glitches with the comments section of this blog. Because of that I opened the contest up to people who also made comments on social media sites. Edited 19 November 2013.