Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

2010 Annual Report

1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
1) Develop a Higher Density and More Informative Chicken SNP Panel, (2) Refine the Theoretical and Molecular Aspects of GWMAS, (3) Field Assessment of GWMAS, and (4) Further Improve the Chicken Genome Assembly.

1b.Approach (from AD-416)
(1) Identify knowledge gaps in genomic selection, research through computer simulations to close these gaps, and implement bioinformatic-based tools for data management, selection, and breeding decisions, and (2) conduct genomic selection in at least two commercial poultry lines. Phenotype and genotype two generations from training, then compare traditional selection with two genomic selected lines over two additional generations.

3.Progress Report

This project replaced agreement 3635-31320-008-19R and is directly linked to Specific Cooperative Agreements 3635-31320-008-20S, 25S, 29S, and 31S titled with the same name. To meet the growing demands of consumers, the poultry industry will need to continue to improve methods of selection in breeding programs for production and associated traits. One possible solution is genome-wide marker-assisted selection (GWMAS). First proposed by one of us, evenly-spaced genetic markers spanning the entire genome are genotyped (scored) on individuals to estimate their breeding value, which in theory could substantially increase the rate of genetic gain compared to traditional selection methods. To test the power of GWMAS, meat-type and egg-type chicken lines are being selected in parallel using either traditional or GWMAS. This year, after completing two rounds of selection, we conclude that compared to birds selected in parallel using current state-of-the-art breeding methods, genomic selection is superior for the vast majority of the traits selected including body weight and breast yield. This research strongly suggests that genomic selection is an improved breeding method. If costs for genetic testing continue to go down, then poultry breeders should be able to economically breed chickens faster using genomic selection and adapt more readily to changing consumer demands. The economic impact could be great since 1 million meat-type birds are processed per hour in the US alone, the net effect of even small improvements are large and worth millions of dollars. This project is monitored by weekly e-mail and telephone calls between the two parties, a monthly teleconference and, when possible, direct interactions at scientific meetings.

Last Modified: 7/23/2016
Footer Content Back to Top of Page