Wagyu genetic test will benefit breeders

23 May, 2014 11:08 AM
We have been able to gain a better understanding of the heritabilities of different traits

A NEW genomics test being developed for the Australian Wagyu Association (AWA) and set for imminent release to Wagyu breeders will reveal new information critical to profitability.

Following extensive carcase data collection in conjunction with the Animal and Genetics Breeding Unit (AGBU) and the Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) donor company, the test results will help distinguish the genetic makeup of Wagyu that makes thousands of dollars difference between the highest and lowest value Wagyu carcases.

Dr Robert Banks from AGBU said the identification of superior Wagyu breeding and commercial animals from an early age would help breeders select the animals worth the long feeding regime to obtain the top end marbling whilst designating those animals with less genetic potential to a shorter feeding regime. The savings in feed costs alone will benefit the whole industry he claims.

Mr Scott de Bruin, AWA president, is also excited by the research findings to date.

“Australia has the largest Wagyu herd outside Japan, and has the opportunity to become the world’s major source of performance-recorded Wagyu genetics”, he said.

The release of this genomic test comes about as a result of the AWA genetic collaborative research project, with data from 3000 Wagyu carcases collected at abattoirs around the country. This data has been collated and analysed at AGBU and will result in Breedplan EBVs based on actual carcase measurements.

Some of the results have been interesting according to Mr de Bruin.

"There has been a really high positive correlation between rib fat scan and carcase marble score whilst there is a lower than expected correlation between IMF percentage scan data and Ausmeat marble score.

“We have been able to gain a better understanding of the heritabilities of different important Wagyu traits through this research”, he said.

“We started this project with the aim of increasing the rate of genetic gain in Wagyu at a faster rate than any other breed and the first results of the project have given us a clearer insight into the direction we need to progress to achieve that aim.

"The rate of gain can be increased further still if more members become involved with the provision of live and carcase data to the project,” he said.

The release of the first results is due in June.

Australian Wagyu Association


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