ABRI becomes world's first user of new genomic method

ABRI implements Single Step Genomic Best Linear Unbiased Prediction

Photo: Lucy Kinbacher

Photo: Lucy Kinbacher


The method will support large numbers of genotypes for genetic evaluation.


The Agricultural Business Research Institute (ABRI) has become one of the world's first users of a new genetic method, which allows for an almost unconstrained use of genomic data in calculating estimated breeding values.

Single Step Genomic Best Linear Unbiased Prediction (GTBLUP) is being implemented through ABRI's Breedplan to address the challenges faced by increasing rates of genotyping.

This was made possible through developments at the Animal Genetics and Breeding Unit (AGBU) led by principal scientist Dr. Vinzent Boerner.

ABRI's genetics research and development manager Dr Brad Crook said when the number of genotyped individuals exceeded the number of Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) in the genotype used, the process of evaluation did not always function properly.

The industry-wide problem was approached by providers in different ways.

"Some do this by using a small number of SNPs and changing the model to a quite simple one.

"Others seek to keep the full genotypes, but reduce the genotypes used to priority animals in the evaluation."

In a test case scenario of around 400,000 genotypes and 50,000 SNPs per genotype, the GTBLUP method was able to outperform other single step approaches in terms of processing times and computational costs.

AGBU made GTBLUP available within Breedplan in October 2020 and ABRI has implemented the technology for the Trans-Tasman Angus Cattle Evaluation.

ABRI's managing director Hugh Nivison said ABRI's decision to embrace GTBLUP, was a conscious effort to maintain its position at the forefront of providers for genetic evaluations.

"This is an exciting opportunity for the inclusion of substantial amounts of genomic data in Breedplan multi-trait evaluations," he said.

"This unlimited capacity provides Breedplan users with an enormous amount of flexibility to submit as much genomic data as they want, without limitation."

The story ABRI becomes world's first user of new genomic method first appeared on The Land.


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