Angus Genetics

Genotype the Whole Herd

The estimated impact of GE-EPDs on genetic gain for weaning weight is 35% greater improvement, compared to just EPDs, when genotyping both bulls and seedstock replacement heifers. (Graphic courtesy Dr. Jim Gibb, Neogen GeneSeek Operations)

A new genomic profiler was just launched for Angus seedstock by Angus Genetics Inc. (AGI) and Neogen GeneSeek. It is the AngusGS test, and will be a cornerstone in the American Angus Association's plan for improvement in the Angus breed.

Dan Moser, president of AGI, said the test "contains DNA markers that are highly informative for Angus cattle". He added the test was intended as a way to encourage seedstock producers to genotype not just bulls, but replacement heifers and cows as well.

"Using genomic tests with females helps a breeder know more about their cow herd and use what they learn to make better mating decisions that result in seedstock that meet their customers' needs," he said.

AngusGS is priced at $37 per test, including parentage DNA. Neogen GeneSeek said it is an advance over other 50K products like the GGP 50K or Zoetis HD50K test, which remains available through AGI, at a cost of $75.

The AngusGS test is designed for direct genotyping, not imputation, in making genomic predictions. It includes 10,000 new Angus gene markers specifically chosen for the breed. This will provide 20% more data to enhance the Angus single-step genetic evaluation and improve understanding of inherited contributions from all ancestors. Initially the focus is on economically important traits related to things like fertility, feed efficiency and tenderness; with the promise of future region-specific traits like fescue tolerance and high-altitude disease susceptibility.

In proposing that its members use whole-herd genotyping, AGI is making DNA collection producer-friendly by accepting Allflex Tissue Sampling Units. AngusGS can be ordered at the AGI website.

As more producers use the test, additional data will accumulate and the value of genetic predictions will increase. AGI described the test as being a "circle of innovation" for Angus breeders. As more testing is done, more data is collected and the accuracy and value of genetic predictions improves continuously.

Moser added: "It is up to all of us to leverage the power of our massive genotype and performance database at Angus and unleash the full potential of genomics."

According to information provided by Neogen Geneseek, it is estimated that using GE-EPDs to make selection and development decisions for both sires and dams, can produce an increase in the rate of genetic gain (compared to using only EPDs) of about 35%.

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