Attendees at the Autumn 2020 Angus CONNECT Research & Development Update heard how improvements in genomic, or DNA based technology has now made the prediction of breeding value for commercial Australian Angus animals a reality.
“Previously, pedigree information was required to understand the relationship between animals, but now genomic technology enables the relationship between animals to be determined through analysis of the animals’ DNA profiles, without the need for pedigree details”, said Angus Australia’s Breed Development & Extension Manager, Mr Andrew Byrne.
Coupled with the availability of a relevant genomic reference population, being a large, well recorded population of Australian Angus animals with both DNA profiles and comprehensive performance measurements in Australian production systems, use of genomic technology to understand of the genetic relationship between animals makes the prediction of breeding value possible.
“Genomic technology enables the genetic relationship between a commercial Angus animal and Angus animals in the genomic reference population to be determined, and the performance information that has been collected on the animals in the reference population can then be utilised to predict the breeding value of the commercial animal”, explained Mr Byrne.
With the improvements in technology, Angus Australia, in collaboration with genotyping partners, Zoetis Animal Genetics and Neogen Australasia, are now focussed on expanding the genetic evaluation services that are available for Australian Angus seedstock animals to also provide genetic evaluation services to Angus breeders running a commercial Angus breeding program.
Genetic evaluation of commercial Angus heifers is available through the Angus HeiferSELECT product where genetic predictions are provided for nine important traits, along with total breeding value and a star rating.
Alternatively, commercial Angus heifers, or unregistered Angus bulls who have been sired by a registered sire, can be recorded in Angus Australia’s Angus Performance Register and receive Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) for 18 traits from the TransTasman Angus Cattle Evaluation.
Angus Australia is also working in collaboration with geneticists at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) to develop an Angus SteerSELECT product.
With targeted availability from January 2021, Angus SteerSELECT will predict the genetic merit of commercial Angus steers, and facilitate the drafting of Angus steers into production systems that are suited to their genetics.
“Better knowledge of the genetic merit of individual commercial Angus animals, be it either heifers or steers, will enable more informed selection decisions to be made, and will ultimately increase the profitability delivered from use of Angus genetics in the Australian beef supply chain” explained Mr Byrne.
Further information on the genetic evaluation services available for commercial Angus animals is available from the Angus Australia website, or by contacting staff at Angus Australia.
Genomic Opportunities for Commercial Breeders
Angus Performance Register