SAINT JOSEPH, Mo. — The importance of Angus Genetics Inc. (AGI®) stretches far beyond running blood samples for Angus breeders. AGI strives to continuously research and develop worldwide, industry-leading technology in efforts to increase the efficiency and profitability of the Angus breed.
Association staff took their research beyond borders at the World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production (WCGALP) in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, July 3-8. Three American Angus Association staff members, five current or former interns and several external collaborators represented AGI at WCGALP, one of the largest global livestock genetics events.
“Angus had a strong presence at this year’s WCGALP,” said Kelli Retallick-Riley, AGI President. “It’s crucial that we continue to be involved in these global conversations to keep Angus at the forefront of the industry.”
AGI president, Kelli Retallick-Riley, discussed the evolution of genomic selection (GS). With GS rapidly evolving, providing accurate tools has become increasingly important. From multistep approaches to single-step genomic testing methods, the improvement of this selection criteria and its predictability has proven to be an invaluable tool for the beef industry. Continued education about the value of GS along with making it accessible, cost effective and useful to make management decisions will continue to increase awareness and uptake of GS in the future, she noted.
Single-Step Genomic Evaluation
After introducing single-step genetic evaluations in 2017, the Angus breed has widely used this genomic selection method and has reached one million genotyped animals in its database. With such rapid adoption, questions arose about updating the original set of core animals to accurately represent the current whole genotyped population, plus what benefits and potential downsides may result by making such a change on a national scale. Andre Garcia, AGI geneticist, presented research which concluded changes in the set of core animals only marginally affected animal ranking.
Pulmonary Arterial Pressure
AGI geneticist, Duc Lu spoke about Angus advancements in pulmonary hypertension. Measured by mean pulmonary arterial pressure (PAP), pulmonary hypertension is defined as high blood pressure in the lungs and the right side of the heart, often associated at elevations 5,000 feet or more above sea level. Through extensive research, the Association and AGI officially released an EPD for PAP to help Angus breeders make better selection decisions. With the rapid advancement of DNA, AGI has explored approaches to improve the accuracy and breeding value of PAP prediction. The research found that haplotype, HapA, has potential to help increase the accuracy of the PAP EPD for Angus breeders at high elevations to use as a valuable selection tool.
Additionally, the current and former interns and external collaborators presented research conducted alongside the Association.
“The research conducted by the Association and AGI impacts the breed internationally,” Retallick-Riley said. “We continue these research efforts to better serve our membership and the global Angus population.”
For more information about AGI and the genetic tools it offers, visit www.angus.org/agi.
–Briley Richard, Angus Communications