Genomic research leads to higher profits

30 Jul, 2009 02:00 AM
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THE recent WAFarmers Annual Dairy Conference provided an insight into the research and development work carried out by industry experts currently underway in Australia.

Discussing the new world of genomics and its impact on breeding, Michelle Axford, from the Australian Dairy Herd Improvement Scheme (ADHIS), said genetic evaluation in Australia was constantly improving and has enabled farmers to breed herds that are more productive, last longer and are more profitable.

With the technology that is now available, Australian dairy farmers are slowly being exposed to genomic selection - the use of DNA data to assist in the calculation of Australian Breeding Values (ABVs).

Currently, ABVs based on genomic technology are sheduled to be released in 2010.

"We are looking at genetic trends and are able to see the value of genetics in our herds over time," Ms Axford said.

"The selection practices have changed in that pedigree and milk recordings now play a pivitol role in selection.

"DNA has had a major influence in the selection process and we now have more DNA information that we haven't always had."

The process of selecting bulls is usually based on a number of factors, including temperament and reliability, but with genomic selection the process is made easier.

Genomic selection is derived once the ABVs are calculated through pedigree, farm records and DNA of the animal.

Gene markers, referred to as Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs), are linked to observable traits like coat colour and traits of economic importance.

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