Monday, May 12, 2014

American Simmental Associations updates TraitTrac system
Works to more accurately reflect biology of genetic conditions

The American Simmental Association continues to adjust their management and reporting of genetic defects and abnormalities. From their eNews newsletter:
At the April board meeting, the ASA Board of Trustees voted unanimously to remove the color system from TraitTrac and add all genetic conditions with available tests into our TraitTrac system (including the most recent condition, developmental duplication). While the existing TraitTrac has worked well for years, it gives a false impression that "green" animals are clear of genetic defects - they are only clear of the ones we know about. Furthermore, this gives us flexibility to add new conditions to TraitTrac relatively simply as they are discovered. In the new TraitTrac system, the main animal page says "TraitTrac" if an animal has no results on any genetic conditions. If the statement "Check for available results" appears under "TraitTrac" then there is additional information on this animal. Click on the "Check" text to go to the TraitTrac page for that particular animal. The TraitTrac page lists all results on all genetic conditions for that particular animal.
Each genetic condition has an abbreviation (legend included) and an abbreviation for the animal status for each condition (same as before; TF = Tested Free, PF = Parentage Free, DF = Documented Free, AF = Assumed Free, HC = Homozygous Carrier, TC = Tested Carrier, DC = Documented Carrier, CL = Carrier in Lineage, DL = Documented Carrier in Lineage, or PR = Population Risk). As before, when ASA receives test results on a particular animal, TraitTrac will update the status for that particular animal and also populate the results for their progeny. In other words, if an animal is tested free for DD, the animal will be updated as tested free (TF) and all the animal's progeny will be updated to recognize parentage free (if both parents are free). On the other hand, progeny of a tested carrier animal will all have carrier in lineage unless the progeny has test results themselves.

 In summary, the new TraitTrac system will work much like the old system except there is no color associated with the status of the animal. All known genetic conditions with available tests will be included in TraitTrac including developmental duplication. This means that genetic holds may appear on some animals that were clear previously if there is a risk of the condition in the lineage. In the TraitTrac page, test results on an individual animal will be stated in text for each condition with an expandable pedigree. This system will provide information to the membership and public to make sound breeding decisions with test results on known genetic conditions.
I am glad to see that they are striving to help producers see that all cattle are carriers of something. I also respect that the ASA is striving to help cattle buyers understand the risk of an animal carrying a known genetic defect by reporting an animal status.
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