KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The American Hereford Association (AHA) announces a breed-specific DNA profile enabling genomic-enhanced expected progeny differences (GE-EPDs). In partnership with GeneSeek®, a Neogen Corporation Company, the Hereford GE-EPDs are powered initially by the GeneSeek Bovine 50K and soon available through the GeneSeek Genomic Profiler (GGP).
The availability of the Hereford GE-EPDs is a direct result of a multi-year collaboration between AHA, National Beef Cattle Evaluation Consortium (NBCEC), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Meat Animal Research Center, Iowa State University, global Hereford Associations and GeneSeek.
“The Association will continue to provide our members with the most technologically superior resources available to make generational turns quicker,” says Jack Ward, AHA chief operating officer and director of breed improvement. “We encourage our breeders to use and accept technology to allow their commercial customers to be profitable.”
The GeneSeek Genomic Profiler is derived from a 50K SNP panel and is used to obtain genomic information that increases the accuracy of traditional Hereford EPDs. In addition to being able to provide information that will enable the calculation of GE-EPDs, the GGP also provides ready access to parentage, horned/polled and other diagnostic tests of interest to the Hereford breed.
“The increase in EPD accuracy allows Hereford producers to make faster genetic progress and to improve their selection decisions in the most efficient manner possible,” says Dr. Elisa Marques, GeneSeek market development manager for genomics.
“The GE-EPDs that are now available to Hereford breeders were researched and developed specifically for Hereford cattle, which makes it more predictive of performance than a product developed across several breeds,” Dr. Marques says. “The GeneSeek Genomic Profiler in turn will be the most comprehensive and cost-effective product for Hereford producers in the marketplace today.”
Dr. Dorian Garrick, Iowa State University Lush Chair in animal breeding and genetics and NBCEC executive director, has led the project research and development. He states the real benefit to cattle producers is utilizing the genomic information to make better mating and selection decisions.
“We have the ability today, to predict the performance of Hereford offspring earlier and with more confidence,” explains Dr. Garrick. “The improved accuracy of the EPDs allows producers to improve their selection practices, especially in young animals.”
“Every animal a producer tests is not only an investment for their own herd, but an investment of the entire breed, as it will contribute to ongoing improvements in predictive ability,” Dr. Garrick says.
To order DNA testing kits, Hereford breeders should contact AHA. Ward states producers need to have registration numbers ready for the animals they plan to test. The Association will mail testing kits directly to producers in time to take DNA samples. Hair is the preferred collection sample, but Ward says if hair is not available, breeders may submit semen or blood. Following collection, producers should mail the completed DNA samples to GeneSeek for processing. Results will be returned to AHA in a timely fashion for dissemination to the breeder and inclusion into the AHA database.
For more information about genomic-enhanced EPDs available from the American Hereford Association, contact your Hereford sales representative, call (816) 842-3757 or visit www.hereford.org. For more information about GeneSeek, call (877) 443-6489 or visit www.neogen.com/GeneSeek.