Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/13/2001
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: The ultimate goal of animal selection is to create a new generation of animals that are superior to the current population. "Superior" is interpreted broadly to include functionality of animals, cost reduction of production, consumer perception, and quality of products. Those factors contribute to overall sustainability and long-term economic profitability of animal production. An essential element of selection is a genetic evaluation system for the detection of superior animals to be used to produce future generations. Current genetic evaluations that use phenotypic records and advanced statistical methods allow the separation of genetic and environmental effects. Those traditional methods are complemented by DNA-based technologies that attempt to detect genetic superiority on a molecular level. Genetic evaluation systems are highly complex and involve collection of data from thousands of farms, determination of milk characteristics in laboratories, processing and storage of data in regional computing centers, and application of advanced statistical procedures to estimate genetic merit. Genetic evaluations are widely distributed and are the primary determiner of the value of semen and embryos. Internationally, bull evaluations are combined across country so that each country has a single national ranking of all bulls worldwide. Selection decisions on farms and by artificial-insemination organizations are highly dependent on that genetic information.