Angus Research Highlighted at the Olympics of Livestock Genetics

The 12th World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production (WCGALP) was held during July 2022, in Rotterdam, Netherlands. 

This preeminent congress for livestock genetics is held every 4 years, with the previous 11 world congresses being held in Madrid (Spain, 1974 and 1982), Lincoln (USA, 1986), Edinburgh (UK, 1990), Guelph (Canada, 1994), Armidale (Australia, 1998), Montpellier (France, 2002), Belo Horizonte (Brazil, 2006), Leipzig (Germany, 2010), Vancouver (Canada, 2014), and Auckland (New Zealand, 2018).

The 12th WCGALP congress was attended by over 1400 delegates (20% online) from multiple countries worldwide, with over 800 scientific papers presented throughout the week. Australian based scientists had 66 papers presented which was the third highest number of papers from a country. Several staff from Angus Australia attended the congress either online (Christian Duff – General Manager Genetic Improvement and Andrew Byrne – Genetic Evaluation Manager) or in-person (Malshani Samaraweera – Geneticist). 

While many topics were covered at the congress, there were several significant themes including enhancing genomic based breeding value prediction, tools to select for the reduction of methane emissions from ruminants and improving climate resilience.  

The theme of the congress was also highlighted in the keynote paper presentation on the opening day titled “Measure, predict and act; a paradigm of genetics applied to livestock production now and into the future” which highlighted that “using genetics applied to livestock to reduce the impact of livestock on climate change, while addressing livestock welfare concerns and meeting more sophisticated and diverse nutritional demands of the consumer, are likely to continue to be emerging trends in this and future WCGALP”.

Importantly there were many papers specific to genetic knowledge and selection in Angus cattle herds including:

  • “Validation of Angus HeiferSELECT using historical data” (P.A. Alexandre et al, CSIRO)
  • “A genomic evaluation of genotype-by-environment interactions for foot scores in American and Australian Angus cattle” (A.B. Alvarenga et al, Purdue University)
  • “Estimation of variance components for female longevity in Australian Angus cattle using random regression models” (H. Aliloo and S. Clark, University of New England)
  • “Genomic prediction accuracy: How low can we go?” (A.Reverter et al, CSIRO)
  • “Phenotypic and genetic trends in American Angus associated with climate variability” (G. Rovere et al, Michigan State University)
  • “Updating the core animals in the algorithm for proven and young in the American Angus Association national evaluations” (A. Garcia et al, Angus Genetics Inc.)
  • “A genome-wide scan for signatures of selection in Hanwoo and Angus cattle using whole-genome sequence data” (H.J. Kim et al, University of New England)
  • “Haplotypes affecting pulmonary arterial pressure in Angus cattle” (D. Lu et al, Angus Genetics Inc.)
  • “Haplotype-based single-step GWAS for yearling temperament in American Angus” (A.C. Arujo et al, Angus Genetics Inc).
  • “A new metric to assess reference populations for genomic selection in Australian beef breeds” (K.L. Moore et al, Animal Genetics and Breeding Unit)

Additionally, Christian Duff (Angus Australia’s General Manager – Genetic Improvement) presented a paper titled “Genetic parameters for fatty acid traits of beef in Australian Angus” which showed “selection can be applied in  Australian Angus beef cattle breeding programs to change the proportion of saturated fats to healthier unsaturated fatty acids within the fatty acid profile of IMF, without being detrimental to carcase weight, carcase rump fat or total intramuscular fat.”

Angus Australia’s Geneticist, Malshani Samaraweera, also presented a paper related to her PhD studies titled “Response to index selection for temperate dairy cattle breeds in tropical Sri Lanka.”

All papers from the 12th WCGALP can be accessed via this link: 

The 13th WCGALP is scheduled for July 2026 in Madison, Wisconsin. 

By Christian Duff, General Manager Genetic Improvement