EVALUATION, DEVELOPMENT, AND USE OF GENETIC RESOURCES TO IMPROVE LIFE-CYCLE EFFICIENCY OF BEEF CATTLE AND SHEEP
Location: Genetics, Breeding, & Animal Health
Title: Enhancing knowledge and technology adoption in a misunderstood discipline: The weight trait project
Submitted to: Journal of Animal Science Supplement
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: February 27, 2011
Publication Date: July 1, 2011
Citation: Spangler, M.L., Pollak, E.J., Kachman, S.D., Hanford, K.J., Thallman, R.M., Bennett, G.L., Kuehn, L.A., Snelling, W.M. 2011. Enhancing knowledge and technology adoption in a misunderstood discipline: The weight trait project [abstract]. Journal of Animal Science Supplement. 89(E-Supplement 1):484. Abstract # 509.
Currently several commercial DNA marker panels are available for complex traits. In the fall of 2009, the American Angus Association integrated the results of an Angus-specific marker panel into their national cattle evaluation for carcass traits. Despite this advancement, there still exists tremendous confusion by producers as to the efficacy of DNA diagnostics. The Weight Trait Project began in the summer of 2009 and was designed to address issues associated with creating and implementing DNA-based selection in conjunction with Expected Progeny Differences. The Weight Trait Project is an ongoing unified effort among researchers, seven breed associations, and 20 seedstock producers to improve the process of developing and validating DNA tests and to investigate the infrastructure necessary for the flow of information for the delivery of Marker-Assisted Expected Progeny Differences to producers. The objectives of the current study were to illustrate methodology for incorporating DNA marker information into Expected Progeny Difference predictions for the trait of weaning weight and develop mechanisms for disseminating this information to producers. To gauge changes in knowledge, practices, and behavior, a survey was sent to participants. The 17 respondents indicated that collectively they own 20,125 head of beef cattle. Increases in knowledge were rated from 0 (none) to 4 (significant). Mean survey results were 1.5, 2.8, 2.0, 3.4, 2.4, 2.7, 2.8, and 2.9 for Expected Progeny Difference, genomics terminology, parentage verification, marker assisted selection, across breed genomic predictions, whole genome selection and panel development, test validation, and accuracy improvement of Expected Progeny Difference, respectively. Producers indicated adoption of methods to improve the following production practices: making mating decisions (40 percent), efficient use of DNA technology (75 percent) and selection (bull buying) decisions (47 percent). Mean responses for changes in behavior (1 = none; 5 = very likely) were 3.9, 3.8, 4.3, and 4.6 for making more informed selection decisions, better educate their clientele, feeling comfortable with terminology, and desire to stay abreast of DNA technology, respectively.