Breeding Companies Unite on Genomics Programme

GLOBE - In an unprecedented collaboration the leading poultry breeding companies Aviagen, Hy-Line International and Lohmann Tierzucht have committed to a combined initiative to evaluate and implement a new genetic technology - Genome Wide Selection - in their respective breeding programs.
calendar icon 8 May 2008
clock icon 3 minute read

The companies will use the collective experience they have gained over the past decade from their individual genomics investments and sponsor a major new research initiative to advance this breeding technology. Individually they have developed an extensive panel of markers for their unique genetic lines.

Photo: StockXchange

The goal of this project is to optimize the effectiveness of Genome Wide Selection in its widest sense. This will lead to full scale evaluation and ultimately to practical implementation of Genome Wide Selection in their breeding programs. The group will collaborate with an advisory panel of world renowned genomics specialists from Iowa State University, University of Wisconsin, Hebrew University Jerusalem, University Nebraska in Lincoln and Professor William Hill from Scotland.

The "traditional" approach to using DNA markers was to find those which accounted for large effects in animal performance. Typically this would involve typing breeding animals for a small number of markers and using that information alongside the traditional breeding technologies. This is generally known as Marker Assisted Selection. Genome Wide Selection uses thousands of markers spread across the whole genome. Each marker has a potential effect on performance ranging from small to large and all of the markers are used simultaneously. This is likely to result in significant gains in overall genetic progress relative to some of the current selection practices using pedigree phenotypic selection only.

An additional potential benefit of Genome Wide Selection will be the ability to collect phenotypic data expressed later in the life of the animal after selections have been made. In layers for example this will halve the effective generation interval potentially doubling the rate of genetic gain over time compared to conventional selection methods.

The ability of Aviagen, Hy-Line International and Lohmann Tierzucht to combine their financial strength and scientific knowledge on this project will extend their R&D leadership in poultry breeding.

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