Genomic selection using beef commericial carcass phenotypes
In this study, an industry terminal breeding goal was used in a deterministic simulation, using selection index methodology, to predict genetic gain in a beef population modelled on the UK pedigree Limousin, when using genomic selection (GS) and incorporating phenotype information from novel commercial carcass traits. The effect of genotype–environment interaction was investigated by including the model variations of the genetic correlation between purebred and commercial cross-bred performance (ρX). Three genomic scenarios were considered: (1) genomic breeding values (GBV) +estimated breeding values (EBV) for existing selection traits; (2) GBV for three novel commercial carcass traits +EBV in existing traits; and (3) GBV for novel and existing traits plus EBV for existing traits. Each of the three scenarios was simulated for a range of training population (TP) sizes and with three values of ρX. Scenarios 2 and 3 predicted substantially higher percentage increases over current selection than Scenario 1. A TP of 2000 sires, each with 20 commercial progeny with carcass phenotypes, and assuming a ρX of 0.7, is predicted to increase gain by 40% over current selection in Scenario 3. The percentage increase in gain over current selection increased with decreasing ρX ;however, the effect of varying ρX was reduced at high TP sizes for Scenarios 2 and 3. A further non-genomic scenario (4) was considered simulating a conventional population-wide progeny test using EBV only. With 20 commercial cross-bred progenies per sire, similar gain was predicted to Scenario 3 with TP =5000 and ρX=1.0. The range of increases in genetic gain predicted for terminal traits when using GS are of similar magnitude to those observed after the implementation of BLUP technology in the United Kingdom. It is concluded that implementation of GS in a terminal sire breeding goal, using purebred phenotypes alone, will be sub-optimal compared with the inclusion of novel commercial carcass phenotypes in genomic evaluations.
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