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DAFM Award

DAFM National Call 2014 14/S/849 Teagasc (UCD, ICBF) € 1,106,382

Project Title:

Multi-breed sheep genetic and genomic evaluations

Project Coordinator:

Dr. Donagh Berry

Project Abstract

Previous studies in cattle suggest genetic gain can be increased by 50% with genome-wide genomic selection. Responses from genomic selection are expected to be greater in Irish sheep because the accuracy of genetic evaluations currently achieved in Ireland with traditional approaches is low. OVIGEN will focus on: 1) increasing the number of phenotypes for genetic and genomic evaluations (especially on commercial crossbreed sheep), 2) developing accurate national genetic evaluations, 3) scoping the feasibility of international evaluations, 4) implementing genomic selection from generated genotypes and phenotypes on 11,560 sheep, and 5) evaluating alternative breeding schemes. Genetic and genomic evaluations for all performance traits will be developed in this project. The impact is a large increase in accuracy of the genetic evaluations for all traits reducing fluctuations of individual animal estimates of genetic merit over time, a demand of Irish sheep breeders. The outcome from OVIGEN will be a national across-breed genomic selection breeding programme for Irish sheep advancing Ireland to the forefront of international genomic selection. The strong inclusion of ICBF/ Sheep Ireland and Teagasc extension in this project ensures rapid and seamless implementation. OVIGEN has the potential to increase genetic gain by at least 350% (i.e., from €0.04/lamb/year to €0.14/lamb/year).

Final Report:

Not available yet.