The American Brahman Breeders Association is releasing a new genomic-enhanced expected progeny difference for tenderness that now incorporates DNA information from GeneSTAR and Pfizer Animal Health.
The results show up to a 10% increase in accuracy for tenderness when compared with the previous tenderness EPD offered by ABBA. In addition, GeneSTAR enabled more animals to have EPDs computed for this especially difficult and expensive to measure trait.
Brahman breeders were among the early adopters of GeneSTAR, which helped enable ABBA to incorporate this information into their genetic evaluation for the calculation of GE-EPDs, says Chris Shivers, executive vice president of ABBA.
Since 2003 the Brahman association has used a general genetic carcass evaluation test for six different traits and one of those is tenderness, Shivers says.
Now, working with Pfizer Animal Health and breeders, the association has compiled the actual field data from the carcass evaluation program with the results from GeneSTAR genetic data.
Shivers says these two sets of information combined form the most accurate genomic-enhanced EPD for tenderness yet provided by ABBA.
GeneSTAR, a targeted panel of DNA markers, provides producers with genomic information about key production traits in all breeds of beef cattle. In addition to tenderness, results include Molecular Value Predictions for feed efficiency, marbling and a Palatability Index. The reports also include percentile ranks, which are determined by benchmarking each animal against hundreds of its breed contemporaries in the Pfizer Animal Health database.
Shivers says ABBA members can use these new GE-EPDs when making breeding decisions to help improve tenderness in young breeding stock and increase the marketability of Brahman cattle.
"This information increases the accuracy for tenderness on many young sires," Shivers says. "It's also useful with animals in the pedigrees without progeny that have gone through ABBA's carcass evaluation program."
With the new GE-EPD for tenderness, Shivers says ABBA breeders can streamline the genetic evaluation process — ultimately improving their herds and accomplishing their goals.
"ABBA believes in technology, as indicated by the early adoption by our breeders," Shivers says. "We look forward to a continued relationship with Pfizer Animal Health to keep developing new DNA markers for other traits."