Monday, May 30, 2016 Monday: DNA Sample Collection

Producers may wish to collect DNA samples on animals for a variety of reasons including parentage testing, quantitative trait testing, testing for genetic defects, or archival purposes.  This fact sheet discusses the current methods of DNA sampling. 

Please see the fact sheet for more information. 

Monday, May 23, 2016 Monday: Genetic Markers of Bovine Respiratory Disease Complex (BRDC) Susceptibility

Complex diseases such as BRDC involve the influence of many genes and are by definition hard to predict. Genomic heritability estimates of BRDC susceptibility in Holstein dairy calves is moderately heritable (0.21). The Single Nucleotide Polymorphism assays are finding genomic regions associated with BRDC susceptibility, suggesting that genetic progress in these traits could be made by including the specific SNP markers that are indicators of BRDC disease risk in national cattle genetic evaluations.

Please see the fact sheet for more information. 

Monday, May 16, 2016 Monday: Beef Cattle Economic Selection Indices

Selection indices provide a single value, usually reported in dollars, for the selection of breeding stock that optimizes selection on a number of traits that define profit in a particular production scenario.  Selection indices simplify selection by weighting EPDs by appropriate economic values to estimate the net merit of a selection candidate under a predefined breeding objective or goal.

Please see the fact sheet for more information. 

Monday, May 9, 2016

Local Genetic Adaptation Grant

Two experiences motivated me to research local genetic adaptation in beef cattle. First of all, as an extension specialist, when I visited with farmers and ranchers across the state of Missouri, you quickly find out that fescue toxicity and sensitivity are important issues for Missouri farmers and ranchers. Further, in the fall of 2013, my mom brought three head of her cattle to graze my pastures at my little farm. One of the cows completely fell apart on the fescue. I started thinking about this problem and soon realized my experience in population genetics could be used to address the issue.

In 2015, the USDA had a call for proposals to use breeding and genomics to address local genetic adaptation. After several nights of working till 4am, I had a proposal ready to be submitted in June. To my great surprise, in October I found out my grant was one of two selected for funding (a 5% funding rate). Last week, the USDA made the award announcement public.

Local genetic adaptation is simply to match the cow's genetics to her environment.

Here are links to further information about our project:

The recent hair shedding work we have started is part of this local genetic adaptation project.

I appreciate the collaborations with the breed associations that make this project possible, including Angus, Charolais, Gelbvieh, Hereford, Limousin, Red Angus, Shorthorn, and Simmental. I also appreciate financial support from the Angus Foundation and Gelbvieh Foundation.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Frequently Asked Questions: Hair Shedding Project

1. How do I collect a DNA sample?
DNA samples, whether blood or hair bulbs, need to be collected on a GeneSeek barcoded card. Please contact Jared Decker (please CC Lena Johnson) or contact GeneSeek to order blood or hair cards. Do not contact breed associations for blood cards.

Information on collecting DNA samples has been presented by my colleagues.

DNA Sample Collection

NEOGEN also has a document describing how to collect a blood sample.

2. Do my animals need to graze fescue to participate?
No, animals do not need to graze fescue to participate in this project. But, we do need to record whether or not the animal grazed fescue before the hair shedding score was recorded. In column M of the "DataRecording.xlsx" spreadsheet, titled "Toxic Fescue", the producer needs to answer "Yes" or "No" to the question of did the animal graze toxic fescue during the spring of the current year?

3. How much will the genomic test cost?
The research grant will pay for the genomic test. Your cost will be collecting the DNA sample, shipping the sample to the University of Missouri, and collecting hair shedding scores. Hair shedding scores need to be collected for 3 years, but DNA samples only need to be collect once. By participating in the project, the producer receives $47 to $55 worth of genotyping per animal (depending on breed association).

4. Is normal culling allowed?

5. Do have have to collect DNA samples in May or June of 2016?
No, DNA samples can be collected and shipped to the University of Missouri at any time. Running the cows through the chute an additional time is not necessary. DNA samples can be collected during preg checks, fall processing, or in the spring of 2017. Note, this will put your cows later in the DNA genotyping queue.

6. What breeds can participate?
Registered Angus, Charolais, Gelbvieh (including Balancers), Hereford, Limousin (including LimFlex), Red Angus, Shorthorn (including Durham Red and ShorthornPlus), or Simmental (including SimAngus).

7. Will GE-EPDs be produced as soon as samples are submitted?
No, we cannot guarantee that animals will be genotyped when they are submitted. DNA testing (and GE-EPDs) will be done in batches, so we can’t guarantee when the genomic test will be run. Please be patient as this is a research project and not a DNA testing service.

Additional questions will be added as needed.

Thanks for your participation in this project!