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Agricultural News

OSU's Megan Rolf Says Cattlemen are Making Use of DNA Technology Whether They Realize It or Not

Tue, 04 Jun 2013 16:28:48 CDT

OSU's Megan Rolf Says Cattlemen are Making Use of DNA Technology Whether They Realize It or Not
Megan Rolf, an Oklahoma State University animal scientist, says commercial cattlemen already use DNA technology by selecting breeding stock backed by genomically enhanced EPDs. They just may not know it yet.

"Within the Angus breed, if you're selecting bulls or herd sires using EPDs, you're already using genomics even if you don't necessarily know that you are, because of the way the American Angus Association incorporates that data it actually flows throughout an animal's entire pedigree and you get the benefit of that information even if you haven't directly done genomic testing on that particular animal."

Understanding and using Expected Progeny Differences, or EPDs, is the easiest way to take advantage of genomics in selection.

"The beauty of these new technologies is that they are incorporated into the existing EPDs, so it works within the same structure, but instead, what we see, are EPDs which we have greater confidence in, which have larger accuracy values. So, even though it is a new technology, it is very well integrated into the current system."

Promising new DNA tools can test Angus herds for gain and grade potential which fit with today's enhanced EPDs on the sire-selection side to allow even more rapid improvement.

"I think where genomics really shows value is selecting for any kind of trait whether it's for increasing quality or grade or growth or whatever it may be that you're interested in. It really gives you a set of EPDs--even on younger animals--which we have greater confidence in. So that can help us increase selection pressure that we can put on the traits that are economically important and we can begin to make progress in those traits even more quickly."

You can watch the video version of this story by clicking in the video box below.



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