ARSBC 2018: Practical Application of Genomic Tests in Beef Production

Megan Rolf
Kansas State University

What is genomic testing?
We are looking at single base changes (SNPs) at thousands of locations across an animals DNA. We can use these DNA markers to predict genetic merit differences. We can also use these DNA markers for parentage.

Other DNA test don't use markers, but they directly test the variant responsible for the phenotype. Examples of this are genetic defects or coat color testing.

Genotyping in seedstock
We collect a DNA sample, send it off to the breed assocation, and the data is incorporated into EPDs. DNA testing for genomic-enhanced EPDs is a breed improvement strategy. It is a way to make genetic progress faster. For a seedstock producer, it also provides customer service by providing more accurate EPDs.

We can used DNA to improve EPDs using two approaches. First, we can use a DNA to create a prediction of the trait and blend this prediction with the EPD. Or, we can use the DNA to better estimate the relatedness between the animals in our pedigree.

Even a low accuracy EPD is our best tool to make selection decisions. DNA tests don't predict all of the genetic variation in the trait. When we combine the performance and pedigree information with a DNA test, we get our best source of information. As we get more data on a bull he can become a high accuracy sire and very proven.

Parentage testing can help us figure out if a calf is sired by the AI bull or the clean up bull.
Parentage testing can help identify which bulls are frequent breeders and producing lots of calves, and which bulls are breeding very few cows. We are spending money maintaining a bull when he is not working very hard breeding cows.

Parentage testing uses patterns of inheritance. The genotype of the calf has to be possible based on genotype of sire and dam.

Link to video of Rolf's presentation:

See ARSBC Newsroom for more information.

Note: this post was live blogged and may contain errors.


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