Submitted to: Beltsville Agricultural Research Center Symposium
Publication Type: Government Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: April 6, 1995
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: In theory, all animal breeders could apply genetic marker technology and marker-assisted selection to speed improvement of their populations. In reality, the income from each new biotechnology must exceed its cost before it becomes useful. Fairly small advantages from genotyping will be profitable if reproductive rates are high. Genotyping of most females and of embryos will not be profitable given current reproductive rates. Success of marker-assisted selection depends greatly on the presence of a few genes with moderate or large effect. To estimate allele differences, breeders will genotype siblings in each elite family that have phenotype or progeny-test data. If allele differences are large at a particular locus, breeders will also genotype younger family members without data to shortcut the selection process. Most livestock families are too small to allow precise estimation of quantitative gene parameters regardless of how many markers are tested. Estimated effects should be regressed for expected error content before use in breeding values. Industry cooperation will be needed to collect, to interpret, and to report genotypic data, especially if family members are widely dispersed and if different laboratories use different markers. Genetic markers are a sensible investment, especially considering that genetic selection has improved animal performance much more than all the other sciences.