Submitted to: AIPL Research Reports
Publication Type: Government Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: February 24, 1999
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: The interval between breeding generations is one factor that influences the rate of genetic improvement in selection programs. A project was undertaken to shorten the interval between breeding generations by decreasing the time needed to process and to deliver genetic evaluations. Processing and release of genetic information were converted from a mainframe computer to a UNIX workstation to capitalize on processing speed, memory, and smaller physical size of workstations. The distribution system was redesigned to improve efficiency, including development of a functional web site so that all genetic information supplied by Animal Improvement Programs Laboratory could be released electronically through the Internet. Electronic transfer via file transfer protocol allows simultaneous delivery of genetic evaluation information regardless of time zones, which had been an industry concern when using traditional mail and express delivery services. Elapsed time for producing national genetic evaluations for dairy cattle was reduced by 5 weeks. In addition, genetic information began to be released quarterly instead of semiannually, thereby reducing the average waiting period for receiving a genetic evaluation by an additional 6 weeks. Providing dairy producers with more timely genetic evaluations allows more accurate selection decisions, thus reducing the time needed to locate animals of highest genetic merit. The financial benefit of more rapid turnaround of genetic information is estimated to be $60 million per year for the breeders of 9.2 million U.S. cows.