Supercharging genetic gain
New research is tackling the challenge of how sheep producers can use the combination of modern DNA-based technologies and reproductive technologies to maximise genetic gain, without increasing rates of inbreeding.
Current estimates indicate that between 18-30 per cent faster genetic gain is possible by using genomic (DNA) testing for selection.
About Tom Granleese
UNE post-graduate student Tom Granleese is studying how to maximise genetic improvement by optimising use of reproductive technologies while reducing the rate of inbreeding. He also uses genomic selection to help identify genetically superior sheep at a younger age.
“By using reproductive technologies such as Multiple Ovulation and Embryo Transfer (MOET) or Juvenile In Vitro Fertilisation (JIVET) in conjunction with genomic selection, we predict that the rate of genetic gain can be increased by up to 80 per cent without increasing the rate of inbreeding.” “High rates of inbreeding should be avoided due to causing slight decreases in production and fitness traits and increases chances of inheriting genetic diseases.”
Mr Granleese, whose post-graduate study is being supported by Sheep CRC, said the focus of his research was to optimise selection for genetic merit while maintaining long-term genetic diversity.
“The genomic information is very useful identifying elite animals within a breeder’s flock at a young age, often before we get any measurements on those animals,” he said.
“The use of female reproductive technologies (MOET and JIVET) means we can select and breed multiple progeny from very young stock.”
Take Home Messages
Between 18 and 30 per cent faster genetic gain is possible by using genomic (DNA) testing for selection.
The use of genomic information allows breeders to identify elite animals to breed from at a very young age.
The rate of genetic gain can be increased by up to 80 per cent without increasing the rate of inbreeding by using genomic selection in conjunction with MOET and JIVET.
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