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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Genetics, Breeding, and Animal Health Research

Title: Genomics and the global livestock industries

item Pollak, Emil

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/1/2011
Publication Date: 5/9/2011
Citation: Pollak, E.J. 2011. Genomics and the global livestock industries [abstract]. In: Proceedings of Applied Genomics for Sustainable Livestock Breeding. Sir Mark Oliphant Conferences, May 2-5, 2011, Melbourne, Australia. p. 9-10.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: After two decades devoted to the quest of developing tools for selection that are based on information obtained directly from the bovine genome, we find ourselves at an interesting juncture. On one hand, application of the technology has essentially eliminated the potentially large negative impact of spontaneous single mutation genetic defects as the management of recent examples of those defects has demonstrated. We also now have the ability to perform more accurate selection based on Molecular Breeding Values for animals that are closely related to the discovery population used to establish the associations of genetic markers with phenotypic measures or genetic evaluations used as phenotypic data; dairy example. Yet the amount of genetic variation explained by the DNA tests falls short of the expectations held for the technology and current tests are less effective in distant relatives within a breed and are not robust enough to be used across breeds. It is hypothesized that the new “larger SNP panels” will help extent the effective use of tests to more distantly related animals, including across breeds. Beyond the application of the new “larger panels” looms sequencing and imputing sequences across individuals with the hopes of being able to find causative mutations or SNPs in perfect harmony with the mutation. However, the investment to revisit discovery populations will be large. We can ill afford to duplicate genotyping or sequencing activities for prominent individuals. Hence, the concept of a global strategy for genotyping and sequencing becomes an attractive proposition as many of our livestock populations are related. As we learned more of the complexities of the genome, the number of animals in discovery populations necessary to achieve high levels of predictability has grown dramatically. No one organization has the capacity or resources to assemble the animals needed, especially for novel, expensive or hard to measure phenotypes. Therefore, consolidating dataset or meta-analysis of like data results will be necessary to help map sources of variation. Thinking beyond the genome to additional complex areas of exploration invites initiatives in proteomics and phenomics (defined here as phenotypes at the biological level that contribute to the architecture of our complex traits). These areas would also be fertile ground for strategic international collaborations as, by nature, it will be difficult and expensive for any one organization to accumulate the data required to enable discovery at the desired level. Current activities and future opportunities relating to international collaborations will be presented as examples. *USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Last Modified: 06/24/2017
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