A new genomic test from Zoetis enables producers to more affordably and accurately predict genetic merit of registered Angus animals.

The new test, named i50K™, leverages historic adoption of HD 50K and the latest advances in cutting-edge genotyping and imputation (i) technology. The i50K test delivers effectively the same improvements in the accuracy of GE-EPDs as that inform a variety of selection, mating and marketing decisions as HD 50K.

i50K is an evolution of HD 50K, the trusted pioneer genomic testing platform from Zoetis. HD 50K was introduced in 2010 and is now widely recognized as the gold standard. Since its introduction more than 170,000 beef seedstock animals have been tested with HD 50K, resulting in a vast reference population of genotyped animals. This widespread adoption of HD 50K and the resulting data bank of tested animals have fueled i50K development.

“The new i50K genomic test is a result of HD 50K adoption, primarily by Angus breeders, weekly genetic evaluations delivered by Angus Genetics Inc., advances in genotyping and a process called imputation,” said Kent Andersen, Associate Director Global Technical Services, Animal Genetics, Zoetis. “As a result, Zoetis and our breed association partners are able to offer i50K at an even more cost-effective price, and we believe that will facilitate even greater adoption and advances in productivity for the beef industry."

That reduction in cost is attributable largely to a process called imputation used extensively in the dairy industry and which Zoetis relies on for i50K. The imputation process uses pattern recognition to effectively determine (impute) higher density genotypes from a subset of lower density, strategically selected genetic markers. A practical example of the pattern recognition concept is people’s ability to easily read sentences even when some letters or words are missing from the sentence. 

i50K has been demonstrated to be highly accurate and dependable in generating genomically enhanced EPDs (GE-EPDs), indexes, accuracy values and associated progeny equivalents that are effectively the same as those from HD 50K. Breeders and their bull buyers can use i50K, associated GE-EPDs and parentage verification, as well as genomic percentile ranks for difficult, time-consuming and expensive to measure traits (i.e., dry matter intake, tenderness, etc.), to make more informed decisions about young animals. Early in life, more information about an animal’s genetic potential can be known than if that animal had 10 – 20 progeny, daughter and carcass records contributing to its traditional EPDs.1

Knowing more, sooner, about an animal’s genetic potential helps breeders make selection, mating and management decisions with greater efficiency. Early on, breeders can dependably know, for example, if animals should be selected to enter the breeding herd as replacement females, further developed and marketed as open or bred females, used as donor females in embryo transfer and in vitro fertilization programs, or culled for feeding purposes. i50K also guides decisions on whether bull calves should be performance tested and eventually sold as bulls for a variety of more clearly determined purposes, or castrated for feeding.

i50K is currently available for registered Angus animals through the American Angus Association. The test includes parentage verification, and also enables sire assignments for commercial black Angus users of GeneMax® Focus™ and GeneMax® Advantage™, as the markers used in those tests are also included in the i50K genotyping platform.

Zoetis anticipates i50K will eventually be available from a broader range of breed associations that incorporate genomic results into their genetic evaluations for the delivery of GE-EPDs.

Mike Amos, Marketing Director, Cow-Calf, Zoetis, says the imputation process that drives the accuracy and affordability of i50K is dependent on maintaining and adding to the population of HD 50K-genotyped animals. “We anticipate many breeders will transition from HD 50K to i50K, and we have developed a strategy to ensure new HD 50K genotypes are introduced on an ongoing basis to maintain the resource population necessary for highly accurate imputation.”

i50K is the latest addition to the Zoetis portfolio of cattle health and management tools that includes leading biologicals, parasiticides, anti-infectives and estrous synchronization, and products that promote animal performance, well-being and associated operational success for producers.

To order a test and learn more about i50K and how it can be used to help improve the accuracy, scope and profitability of breeding decisions, contact a Zoetis representative, visit i50K.com or contact your breed association representative.