Zoetis Animal Genetics and Angus Australia have entered into a partnership that will assist Australian Angus seedstock and commercial breeders extract additional benefit from genomic, or DNA-based technology.
Through the partnership, Zoetis have made a considerable investment in the expansion of the Angus genomic reference population through the provision of genotyping services and sponsorship.
Zoetis’ Genetics Manager for Australia and New Zealand, Mr Daniel Abernethy, highlighted how the partnership continues the long-term productive relationship Zoetis has held with Angus Australia for many years.
“Zoetis is proud to partner with Angus Australia in delivering products like HD50K for Angus and Angus HeiferSELECT, and this partnership is a further demonstration of Zoetis’ commitment to provide Angus Australia members with the latest DNA testing technology, and to maximise the value members derive from the Angus reference population”, Mr Abernethy said.
The Angus breed is leading the utilisation of genomic technologies in the Australian beef industry, with over 26,000 Angus animals being genomically tested during 2019.
“The value that Angus breeders obtain from genomic technology is largely determined by the value of the genomic reference population that is available”, Angus Australia’s Breed Development & Extension Manager Andrew Byrne said.
The genomic reference population refers to a reference population of animals that have both DNA profiles and performance information, with the value obtained from genomic technologies influenced by factors such as the size of the reference population, how closely related the animals in the reference population are to the animals being genomically tested, and the relevance of the production system in which the performance information has been collected.
“Angus Australia is committed to facilitating the availability of large, well-recorded, relevant genomic reference population of Australian Angus animals with performance measurements in Australian production systems, particularly for hard-to-measure traits, so that Angus Australia members can get the most value from genomic technologies”, said Mr Byrne.
While efforts to-date have focussed on the development of the Australian Angus genomic reference population via the Angus Sire Benchmarking Program, now in its eleventh year of operation, a priority of the new partnership with Zoetis will be to explore how performance information collected on non-seedstock animals can be harnessed within the genomic reference population.
“A particular focus will be on the feasibility of utilising performance measurements collected in the feedlot and abattoir sector”, said Mr Byrne.
The investment by Zoetis in the Angus genomic reference population through this partnership with Angus Australia will improve the genomic technologies that are available to Australian Angus breeders, which in turn will further accelerate the considerable genetic improvement that is already being achieved within the Angus breed.