Trelech, Carmarthen

Focus Site Project: Understanding the practical application of novel Genomic Breeding Values for carcase traits

Project Aims:

  • The aim of this project is to raise awareness of the first genomic breeding values (GEBV’s) available for the beef industry.
  • GEBV’s combine video imaging analysis results of carcases with genomic information from DNA to build up a ‘SNP’ key for the breed. Producers can compare their live animals’ DNA against the key and identify their breeding merit for nine new carcase traits.
  • The technology could help pedigree breeders market bulls with superior carcase traits; suckler beef farmers could produce calves of improved carcase merit; and beef finishers could procure animals that will better target market specification.
  • The pedigree Limousin herd will submit DNA from 50 animals for carcase traits. The DNA samples will be compared against the ‘SNP key’ for the Limousin breed and GEBV’s produced for every animal sampled and compared to the breed GEBV percentile chart.
  • The Myostatin variants carried by every animal will also be determined and aligned with the calving ease, gestation length and birth weight EBV’s. Mutations of the ‘double muscling’ gene myostatin are thought to be associated with heavier birth weights and the potential for more difficulty at calving.
  • This information will be used to identify the most superior breeding lines for carcase traits and investigate any possible relationship between carcase traits, myostatin and calving difficulty.

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