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Detecting effective starting point of genomic selection by divergent trends from best linear unbiased prediction and single-step genomic best linear unbiased prediction in pigs, beef cattle, and broilers

  • Abdollahi-Arpanahi, Rostam1
  • Lourenco, Daniela1
  • Misztal, Ignacy1
  • 1 Department of Animal and Dairy Science, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602 , (United States)
Published Article
Journal of Animal Science
Oxford University Press
Publication Date
Aug 14, 2021
DOI: 10.1093/jas/skab243
PMID: 34390341
PMCID: PMC8420679
PubMed Central
  • AcademicSubjects/SCI00960


Genomic selection has been adopted nationally and internationally in different livestock and plant species. However, understanding whether genomic selection has been effective or not is an essential question for both industry and academia. Once genomic evaluation started being used, estimation of breeding values with pedigree best linear unbiased prediction ( BLUP ) became biased because this method does not consider selection using genomic information. Hence, the effective starting point of genomic selection can be detected in two possible ways including the divergence of genetic trends and Realized Mendelian sampling ( RMS ) trends obtained with BLUP and single-step genomic BLUP ( ssGBLUP ). This study aimed to find the start date of genomic selection for a set of economically important traits in three livestock species by comparing trends obtained using BLUP and ssGBLUP. Three datasets were used for this purpose: 1) a pig dataset with 117k genotypes and 1.3M animals in pedigree, 2) an Angus cattle dataset consisted of ~842k genotypes and 11.5M animals in pedigree, and 3) a purebred broiler chicken dataset included ~154k genotypes and 1.3M birds in pedigree were used. The genetic trends for pigs diverged for the genotyped animals born in 2014 for average daily gain ( ADG ) and backfat ( BF ). In beef cattle, the trends started diverging in 2009 for weaning weight ( WW ) and in 2016 for postweaning gain ( PWG ), with little divergence for birth weight ( BTW ). In broiler chickens, the genetic trends estimated by ssGBLUP and BLUP diverged at breeding cycle 6 for two out of the three production traits. The RMS trends for the genotyped pigs diverged for animals born in 2014, more for ADG than for BF. In beef cattle, the RMS trends started diverging in 2009 for WW and in 2016 for PWG, with a trivial trend for BTW. In broiler chickens, the RMS trends from ssGBLUP and BLUP diverged strongly for two production traits at breeding cycle 6, with a slight divergence for another trait. Divergence of the genetic trends from ssGBLUP and BLUP indicates the onset of the genomic selection. The presence of trends for RMS indicates selective genotyping, with or without the genomic selection. The onset of genomic selection and genotyping strategies agrees with industry practices across the three species. In summary, the effective start of genomic selection can be detected by the divergence between genetic and RMS trends from BLUP and ssGBLUP.

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