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Hereford and Red Angus Heifers Recruited for Genomics Research

The University of Missouri is recruiting 2,500 Hereford heifers and 2,500 Red Angus heifers to participate in a heifer puberty and fertility genomic research project. Heifers should be registered Hereford, registered Red Angus, or commercial Hereford or Red Angus. Hereford x Red Angus crossbred heifers targeted for the Premium Red Baldy Program would also be a good fit for the research project. Producers must be willing to work with a trained veterinarian to collect the following data: ReproductiveTract Scores collected at a pre-breeding exam 30 to 45 days prior to the start of the breeding season. PelvicMeasurements (height and width) collected at the same pre-breeding exam 30 to 45 days prior to the start of the breeding season. Pregnancy Determination Using Ultrasound reporting fetal age in days. Ultrasound will need to occur no later than 90 days after the start of the breeding season. In addition, heifers must have known birth dates and have weights recorded eithe

Asking the Right Questions...

Drovers Cattle Network recently shared this video in which they discussed the recent changes at Igenity.  The conversation continued by discussing strategies (and products) to reduce risk and select the best replacement heifers and cows during drought conditions.  So, that got me interested in the products referred to by Dr. Jim Gibb.  A quick search lead me to here and here on Igenity's website.  At the end of the second link it says:
Have more questions?Let an expert give you the inside information — igenity.support@neogen.com
So, what questions should beef producers be asking?  As we previously discussed, some beef genomic technologies return valuable information (tests for traits with genes of large effect, genomic selection) and some do not (gene tests predicting a complex trait with a small number of markers).  Following are some questions (and suggested actions) to get you started:

1. Has the test been validated by the NCBEC?  
    (If it is a new test the process of NCBEC validation has likely not been completed.  Or, better yet, visit NBCEC's site before making a phone call or sending an email.)
2. What were the results of the NCBEC validation study?
    (If a validation study has been done and the test was not validated, don't use it.)
3. Has the test been validated in-house?  What were the results?
4. Approximately how many DNA markers are included in the test?
    (If it is a quantitative or complex trait, most likely, the more the better.)
5. What breeds and populations were used in the design and validation of this test?
    (If the trait is complex and the breed (or a closely related breed) you use is not in the training or validation set, I would not purchase the test.)
6. How much of the trait's variation is explained by the test?
    (Obviously, the more the better.)

Do you have additional questions you think beef producers should be asking?
Please leave them in the comments section.

*Also, similar questions could be asked when finding a Personal Genomics provider.

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