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DAFM Award

DAFM National Call 2015 15/S/672 Teagasc (ICBF) €133,648

Project Title:

Feasible phenotyping strategies for efficient and effective genetic gain in difficult-to-measure traits in cattle and sheep

Project Coordinator:

Dr. Sinead McParland

Project Abstract

Successful breeding programs are currently predicated on access to vast quantities of phenotypic information. The introduction of genomic information into genetic evaluations, however, requires a re-assessment of strategies to achieve accurate genetic evaluations. The objective of this two-year feasibility study is to generate an all encompassing report (and publicly available tools) to guide Irish (and global) dairy, beef and sheep (and other) sectors on realising the best return on investment in phenotyping (and genomic) strategies for achieving accurate genetic evaluations, especially for difficult-to-measure traits. Although emphasis in the project is predominantly on feed intake and animal health, the approaches developed will be sufficiently generic to be applicable to all traits in most species. The objectives of FENOTYPING will be achieved through 1) evaluation of alternative family-based phenotyping strategies (e.g., phenotyping the animal itself or its ancestors or cousins, or a combination of all) complemented with genomic information, 2) assessment of the performance, ease-of-use, and cost of available tools for the gold standard measurement of feed intake, 3) the potential of international collaboration in the exchange of phenotypic data to achieve accurate genetic evaluations for feed intake and health, 4) strategies to, and benefits of, including difficult-to-measure traits in (Irish) national dairy, beef and sheep breeding programs, all culminating into a 5) cost (Task 1, 2, 3) : benefit (Task 4) of alternative feasible phenotyping strategies for difficult-to-measure traits. The report will provide an objective roadmap of how best to achieve genetic gain, for especially difficult-to-measure traits, but the tools developed will be sufficiently generic to be useful in the future to quantify the overall cost of exploiting newly developed phenotyping tools in on-going projects. The impact of this project is a more holistic and pertinent breeding goal to achieve genetic gain at minimal cost to a self-financing breeding scheme.

Final Report:

Not available yet.