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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Related Topics

Research Project: Implementation of Whole Genome Selection in the U.S. Dairy and Beef Cattle Industries

Location: Animal Genomics and Improvement Laboratory

2011 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
1) Use the BovineSNP50 assay to provide high-accuracy predictions of genetic merit to U.S. dairy and beef breeds..
2)Enable the adoption of WGEAS by developing low-density and low-cost SNP assays for: a) intermediate-accuracy genetic prediction, b) mate selection, and c) parentage verification and traceability..
3)Develop, adapt and optimize statistical metodologies to: a) fully integrate SNP genotype or haplotype effects into existing genetic evaluation technologies, and b) supplement or replace pedigree data. 4)Collaborate and coordinate U.S. and European Union WGEAS activities.


1b.Approach (from AD-416)
1. Collect genotypic data using the bovineSNP50 in both dairy and beef cattle breeding programs. 2. Develop statistical algorithms needed to implement whole genome enabled animal selection specific to dairy and beef cattle populations as needed. 3. Determine subset of markers needed for low density SNP assay for application to parentage verification and reduced accuracy genetic prediction. 4. Collaborate with many organizations to utilize data generated by this project as well as other projects to obtain maximum utilization of resources generated.


3.Progress Report

The first objective to provide high-accuracy predictions of genetic merit enhanced by DNA marker data (BovineSNP50) in U.S. cattle has been met in dairy cattle and progress has been achieved in beef cattle. Genetic evaluations using genomic data have been considered “official” evaluations for Holstein and Jersey since January 2009. Brown Swiss genomic evaluations became available in August 2009. For Angus cattle, a targeted 384-SNP panel was developed and commercialized. This product includes the most predictive SNP for Heifer Pregnancy Rate, Ribeye Muscle Area, Marbling, and Yearling Weight. The next objective was to enable the adoption of whole genome enabled animal selection (WGEAS) by developing low-density and low-cost SNP assays for: a) intermediate-accuracy genetic prediction, b) mate selection, and c) parentage verification and traceability. Development of a 96-SNP set for parentage has been completed. This set of SNP has been identified as a candidate list to replace the current list of microsatellites by the International Society of Animal Genetics. Additionally, this list has been deployed in at least 6 commercial assays and is under consideration by several other vendors. The third objective, to develop, adapt and optimize statistical methodologies to: a) fully integrate SNP genotype or haplotype effects into existing genetic evaluation technologies, and b) supplement or replace pedigree data, is progressing. The final objective, to collaborate and coordinate U.S. and European Union WGEAS activities began in 2009. A second meeting of researchers contributing to this project as well as several European projects met at the International Plant and Animal Genome conference. The objectives to foster collaboration and reduce duplication were met. Monitoring activities associated with this project included regular email correspondence and conference calls. This research supports two objectives of its related in-house project: .
1)to use genotypic data and resulting bovine haplotype map to enhance genetic improvement in dairy cattle through development and implementation of whole genome selection and enhanced parentage verification approaches (obj. #2) and.
2)to characterize conserved genome elements and identify functional genetic variation (obj. #3).


Last Modified: 12/21/2014
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