Showing posts from October, 2015

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Dr. Jamie Courter is your Mizzou Beef Genetics Extension Specialist

By Jared E. Decker Many of you have probably noticed that things have been a lot less active on the A Steak in Genomics™   blog, but you probably haven't known why. In January 2021, I was named the Wurdack Chair in Animal Genomics at Mizzou, and I now focus on research, with a little bit of teaching. I no longer have an extension appointment. But, with exciting news, the blog is about to become a lot more active! Jamie Courter began as the new MU Extension state beef genetics specialist in the Division of Animal Sciences on September 1, 2023. I have known Jamie for several years, meeting her at BIF when she was a Masters student. I have been impressed by Jamie in my interactions with her since that time.  Dr. Courter and I have been working closely together the last 6 weeks, and I am excited to work together to serve the beef industry for years to come! Jamie holds a bachelor’s degree in animal science from North Carolina State University and earned a master's degree in animal

Selection for Improved Feed Efficiency

DNA Technology: Where we've been, where we are, and where we're headed Conference sponsored by the Beef Feed Efficiency grant, Meat Animal Research Center, Clay Center, NE Matt Spangler University of Nebraska-Lincoln In poultry, we have seen a 250% improvement in feed efficiency since 1957. We have dramatically improved the efficiency of gain in chickens. We have not made similar progress in beef cattle. How can we move the needle and start to make progress? First of all, how do we define feed efficiency? Average daily gain (ADG) Average daily feed intake (AFI) Residual feed intake (RFI) is the difference between what we expected an animal to eat and what they actually ate. In residual feed intake, how we define a contemporary group is very important. For example, think of combining Scottish Highland and Chianina cattle in a group.  EPDs for feed efficiency Residual gain residual feed intake dray matter intake Days to finish If a

Selection for Cattle that are Less Susceptible to BRD

DNA Technology: Where we've been, where we are, and where we're headed Conference sponsored by the Beef Feed Efficiency grant, Meat Animal Research Center, Clay Center, NE Alison Van Eenennaam University of California-Davis Twitter: @biobeef The long-term goal of this project is to reduce the incidence of bovine respiratory disease (BRD) complex through genomic selection. We would not want to challenge our herd to see if they are susceptible or not; too many would end up dead! Genomics helps us select for traits that are difficult to measure or have a low heritability. But to create genomic predictions we need large populations, e.g. 1000s of animals, with phenotypes (trait measurements) and genotypes. BRD can be difficult to measure and quantify; the data can be noisy. Part of the focus of the project was a very careful definition of a sick animal. Temperature, cough, nasal drainage, eye scores, and ear scores were used to define whether or not an an

Selecting for More Fertile Females

DNA Technology: Where we've been, where we are, and where we're headed Conference sponsored by the Beef Feed Efficiency grant, Meat Animal Research Center, Clay Center, NE Jared E. Decker University of Missouri Introduction It has frequently been stated that reproductive traits have low heritabilities, meaning little of the variation in reproductive traits is due to genetic differences. Due to this catchphrase, producers may not emphasize reproductive traits in their breeding decisions. Further, cows and heifers may sometimes receive a “Get Out of Jail, Free” card when their reproductive performance is lacking. Let us reconsider the amount of variation in reproductive traits due to genetics. First consider the Heifer Pregnancy EPD reported by the American Angus Association. They report a heritability of 14% for Heifer Pregnancy ( ). At first, this may seem like a very small percentage. But, to put

Speaker Sensation at the National Angus Convention

Entertaining and educational, an impressive line-up headlines Angus events Nov. 3-5 in Overland Park, Kan. The complete program for the 2015 Angus Means Business National Convention & Trade Show, which takes place Nov. 3-5 in Overland Park, Kan., features an incredible slate of speakers. Highlights of the week’s events include an International Angus Genomics Symposium on Tuesday, Nov. 3, sponsored by Neogen®’s GeneSeek Operations, during which keynote speaker and genetics pioneer Richard Resnick will discuss the evolving progress of genomic technology. The afternoon will provide hands-on Genomics Innovation Workshops sponsored by Zoetis. On Wednesday, Nov. 4, Angus University, sponsored by Merck Animal Health, returns to follow “A Story of a Steak” and share insights on increasing quality in the nation’s beef production chain. Ken Schmidt, former Harley-Davidson communications director is the morning keynote speaker. The afternoon will feature 21 educational breakouts with

What have we learned from sequencing efforts to date?

And where are we going next? Data via . Code for generating the plot at . This graph never ceases to amaze me. On the horizontal axis we have dates from September 2001 to July 2015. On the vertical axis we have the cost to sequence a million base pairs of DNA, with the axis having a logarithmic scale  (each tick mark is multiplied by 10, e.g. change from 10 to 100 to 1000). The blue line describes what is called Moore's Law  which describes the increase in purchasing power as computer costs come down. The rate of improvement in DNA sequencing easily outpaces the improvement in computing. Since September 2001, the price of DNA sequencing has dropped 6 orders of magnitude  from $5,292.39 to $0.015. From more than $5,000 to less than 2 cents!!! Same data as above by with the vertical cost axis  on a normal scale, not logarithmic. What caused the drop in sequencing from April 2015 to July 20

2015 NBCEC Brown Bagger Series Kicks Off

by Jeffrey Beall The 2015 National Beef Cattle Evaluation Consortium Brown Bagger series kicked off today. The Brown Bagger is a webinar discussing beef cattle genetics every Wednesday in October at 12:00 Central time. While we've already missed today's webinar, no fear there are more great presentations coming up. Plus, recordings of today's webinar will be available online in the coming weeks. The theme for this year's series is "Advancing genetic selection in beef cattle: Improving current tools and developing new ones." The following presentations are scheduled: Oct 7 Advancements in National Cattle Evaluation Strategies Host, Dr. Matt Spangler Latest changes to national cattle evaluation systems—Dr. Bob Weaber, Kansas State University Across Breed EPD and multi-breed genetic evaluation developments—Dr. Larry Kuehn, USDA-ARS-US-Meat Animal Research Center Oct 14 Beef Cattle Fertility Project and Sequencing Effort Update Host, Dr. Darrh