Neogen on Wednesday released its new GeneSeek Genomic Profiler, the GGP HD-150K.
The tool screens cattle DNA for about 150,000 gene-marker variations linked to important traits that beef producers consider when selecting, managing and marketing cattle breeding stock.
"Adding markers increases accuracy in predictive power, but adding the right markers is just as important. How you design the product matters a great deal," said Dr. Stewart Bauck, general manager of Neogen's GeneSeek operations. "By working in collaboration with USDA experts and independent researchers, GeneSeek has created the new GGP HD-150K, which is the most powerful new profile for seedstock selection on the market."
Profile data on bulls, and some elite females, are used to calculate Genomic-Enhanced Expected Progeny Differences. These rate how seedstock will pass along maternal, performance and carcass traits to their offspring.
"With GE-EPDs, a seedstock provider can evaluate the future value of a potential sire soon after it is born. They can get reliable information that otherwise would take years to obtain. This helps them focus their time, money and reputation on marketing seedstock of verified genomic merit," Bauck said. "The insight also helps accentuate the advantages and potential specialization of their bulls with rancher customers."
Time is limited
DNA testing is all about the value of time, Bauck explained. "If you wait long enough, you can measure how a sire's offspring perform. But years may pass before you have progeny data on cow fertility. By then, the bull has influenced four calf crops," Bauck said. GE-EPDs give bull buyers accurate information on these characteristics up front.
"We also have added new content for genetic conditions that are emerging in the latest science," he said. An example, he added, is detection of the male Y chromosome in female DNA. Recent findings at the USDA Meat Animal Research Center have linked this condition to cow infertility.
While female fertility is considered moderately heritable, open cows are a large drag on ranch profit, so using genomics to achieve even modest improvements are quite impactful, he said.
In other situations, breeders raise bulls with goals of improving daily gain or carcass composition, and genomic profiles help them deliver on these values.
Tool available through Angus Genetics, Inc.
The GGP HD-150K will be available through Angus Genetics Inc., where it will replace the GGP HD-80K.
It will also be used by other breed associations and researchers profiling elite seedstock and training populations. Associations are already offering the GGP LD-30K, which has more than 25,000 markers in use for routine profiling of herd bulls.
"The technology for cattle genomics continues to advance. The trend is towards more powerful, and also more affordable, tests that have increasing impact on future profits and performance," Bauck said.