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SA Stud Book News | Expansion of the genetic merit for growth

Media Release: First Bonsmara herd fully genomically tested  Go Back

On the heels of the release of the first Genomic Breeding values for beef cattle, namely the Bonsmara breed, the first Bonsmara herd obtained genomic profiles for all animals in the herd. Boeram Venter, owner of Disco Bonsmara Stud near Kirkwood, decided to all reap the benefits of genomics when breeding beef cattle.

The inclusion of genomic profiles in the prediction of genetic merit of selection candidates, even at a very young age, reduces the risk that BLUP breeding value predictions might change radically, as more information becomes available. By including genomic information, the accuracies of BLUP breeding values are increased. Genomic selection specially benefits traits that cannot be measured or recorded on the animal itself such as milk (maternal), cow mature weight and heifer and cow fertility for bull calves. Traits that will also benefit include eye muscle area, marbling and feed efficiency, usually only measured on bull calves. Disco Bonsmara Stud has furthermore taken the bold step to establish an own test facility to record growth rate and feed intake for young bull calves. The combination of, especially feed efficiency, in combination with real time ultrasound scanning of young bulls, their genomic information and those of the rest of the calf crop means that these bulls’ genomic relationship with their half sib sisters will furthermore increase selection certainty in selection for these traits.

The second major advantage when the genomic information of parents’ and progeny’s genotype information is known, is the precision of confirming, or even determining true parentage. The genomic service of Stud Book make use of more than 35 000 base pairs on the chromosomes of each animal with a genomic test to establish the true relationships among animals. The big difference with the current parentage conformation, based on an “exclusion principle” (the “impossibility” of a possible parent), is that genomic parentage determination is an “inclusion principle”, therefore the confirmation of a specific parent.

Stud Book has also adapted the genetic and other reports to clearly indicate that genomic profiles were used in the BLUP breeding value predictions and that parentages were confirmed using the information.

The Genomic BLUP breeding values and the other advantages of genomics for stud breeders and buyers of breeding stock have taken the world by storm. South Africa is now sharing in these advantages.

An example of two animals in the genetic report of Disco Bonsmara herd. Both parents could be verified for the first animal. Only one animal could be verified for the second animal, but the sire of the second animal was not genomically tested, therefore the verification could not be done.

Animals with known genomic profiles used in the genetic merit predictions are indicated by the “GenoTyped” logo in all the Logix reports.

Japie van der Westhuizen
General Manager: SA Stud Book and Animal Improvement Association
5 October 2017

Boeram Venter
Owner: Disco Bonsmara Stud


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