New Technologies – What Tools Do ViaGen Clients Use?

Posted by on Monday, September 25th, 2017 in General

ViaGen provides cloning services to beef and dairy cattle.  The animals selected to be cloned, are the rock stars of the barnyard.  They are selected because they are superior for economically valuable traits.  So how do farmers and ranchers know they have a rock star?  In a new technologies series, we will look at some of the tools available to breeders, to help them find the elite cattle that will create the most income for their program.  In today’s blog, we will look at whole genome selection.  The following is the abstract for a paper written by Dr. G.E. Seidel, one of the pioneers in the bovine reproductive technology world as we know it today.

 Brief introduction to whole-genome selection in cattle

using single nucleotide polymorphisms

E. Seidel, Jr

Animal Reproduction and Biotechnology Laboratory, Colorado State University, Fort Collins,

CO 80523-1683, USA. Email:


Genomic selection using single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) is a powerful new tool for genetic selection. In cattle, SNP profiles for individual animals are generated using a small plastic chip that is diagnostic for up to 50 000 SNPs spaced throughout the genome. Phenotypes, usually averaged over offspring of bulls, are matched with SNP profiles of bulls mathematically so that animals can be ranked for siring desirable phenotypes via their SNP profiles. For many traits in dairy cattle, the rate of genetic improvement can be nearly doubled when SNP information is used in addition to current methods of genetic evaluation. Separate SNP analyses need to be developed for different populations (e.g. the system for Holsteins is not useful for Jerseys). In addition, the value of these systems is very dependent on the number of accurate phenotypes matched with SNP profiles; for example, increasing the number of North American Holstein bulls evaluated from 1151 to 3576 quadrupled the additional genetic gain in net merit from this approach. Thus, the available information will be insufficient to exploit this technology fully for most populations. However, once a valid SNP evaluation system is developed, any animal in that population, including embryos, can be evaluated with similar accuracy. Biopsying embryos and screening them via SNP analysis will greatly enhance the value of this technology by minimizing generation intervals.


If you would like to read the full text paper, it is available in Reproduction, Fertility and Development, 2010, 22, 138–144 www.publish

By: Diane

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