Monday, December 9, 2013

Angus Association Announces Third Recalibration of Zoetis HD 50K Prediction


The American Angus Association announced the 3rd recalibration of the Zoetis HD 50K product. The previous recalibration was based on about 40,000 animals and this recalibration is based on about 51,000 animals.I want to highlight a few points from Crystal Albers' interview with Dr. Kent Andersen of Zoetis and Tonya Amen of Angus Genetics Inc.
First, genomic predictions and genomic-enhanced EPDs are self-improving. Every animal tested can be used for the next round of improvements and recalibration.
Second, genomic predictions reduce the risk and improve the accuracy of purchase decisions for commercial producers.
Third, for the first time the HD 50K product produces genomic-enhanced EPDs for heifer pregnancy.
Fourth, Zoetis recognizes the need for more aggressive marketing of animals with genomic-enhanced EPDs to see a greater return on the investment. They use a website called GenomeXchange where their customers have the opportunity to list information about their operation and advertise cattle that have been tested.

Don't hesitate to contact me if you would like to discuss how genomic technologies could fit into your operation.

*Note: this is not an endorsement of a particular product, simply a discussion of changes in genomic prediction.

Friday, December 6, 2013

My Genetic Ancestry

Congratulations to Eric who only missed my percentage of Neanderthal ancestry by a tenth of a percent! I am 2.9% Neanderthal, which puts me in the in the 83rd percentile (which means I have more Neanderthal DNA than 83% of 23andMe customers).

I also learned other information about my ancestry. I am basically Northern European, most of which is British and Irish.


23andMe has also identified 991 possible relatives. For a handful of these relatives I've been able to identify the ancestor that we have in common.

It has also been interesting to find my risk predictions for certain diseases, my carrier status for several inherited conditions, and predictions for various traits. Unfortunately, 23andMe has runaground of FDA regulations and have stopped offering health predictions to new customers.

As someone interested in population genetics, genealogy, and genomic predictions, I have really enjoyed the information provided by 23andMe. I'm hoping that 23andMe can overcome its difficulties with FDA approval, so that others can benefit from the health predictions provided by genetics.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Science Fair:
Grey Horse Cancer

Young grey horse
by Jaydot
My second cousin, Elida Miller, is starting her science fair project on grey horse cancer. She is requesting a picture, registered name, age, and breed of horses with cancer. If you know of one please send the pictures and information to ewmsciencefair@gmail.com. 



Would you like to have your science fair project publicized on my blog? Send your information to DeckerJE@missouri.edu.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Innovative Genomic Predictions Require Innovative Marketing
Opinion Piece



From discussions with seedstock producers at the recent Hereford Education Forum, I realized producers need to use new marketing strategies when utilizing genomic predictions. If you purchase genomic predictions for your yearling bulls, but continue to market your bulls locally, you are not likely to have a favorable return on your investment. You will need to change one of two things: either your current customers will need to recognize the increased value of animals with genomic-enhanced EPDs or you will need to broaden the scope of your marketing. In the short run, I believe marketing to a wider customer base will be the easier solution. For example, a seedstock producer could market nationally any animals that rank in the top 10th percentile of the breed, while continuing to market his remaining crop locally. To reach this national market the producer will need to advertise in national publications, on their farm's website, through internet sales, or in national consignment sales, just to list a few examples.

The GeneMax™ (GMX) Elite Bred Heifer Sale is an excellent example of combining innovative genomic technology with innovative marketing. The genomic test is an integral part of the marketing program for this sale, so much so that they put it in the name! 

I will be interested to see the results from this sale. I think we will see a premium for heifers that score exceptionally well on the GeneMax test, and we will see average prices for heifers that had GeneMax scores below 50. In the future, I will also be interested to see if consignors are more stringent on GeneMax scores or if they let discerning buyers place a higher value on the heifers with better scores. Because reproduction is a lowly heritable trait (i.e. environment is more important than genetics for reproductive success), it is also important to use best practices, such as those outlined in the Show-Me-Select Replacement Heifer program when developing heifers.

To see a significant return on investment, early adopters of genomic prediction will need to employ similar marketing strategies. 

*Note: this is not an endorsement of the GeneMax™ test or the Elite Bred Heifer Sale.