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Genetic and economic responses for within-family marker-assisted selection in dairy cattle breeding schemes.

  • Spelman, R J
  • Garrick, D J
Published Article
Journal of dairy science
Publication Date
Nov 01, 1998
PMID: 9839238


Marker-assisted selection schemes that utilize information about quantitative trait loci to preselect progeny test bulls within a family are the most practical application of quantitative trait loci results in the short-term. Technical difficulties exist for across-family marker-assisted selection using BLUP procedures. Two within-family marker-assisted selection schemes were evaluated genetically and economically using stochastic simulation for a locus that explained 5% of phenotypic variance. The genetic and economic impacts of variation in the number of offspring per bull-dam were evaluated. The top down marker-assisted selection scheme identifies sires that are heterozygous for the locus based on the granddaughter design and uses the quantitative trait locus information in the preselection of grandsons entering progeny testing. The bottom up marker-assisted selection scheme identifies sires heterozygous for a quantitative trait locus based on the daughter design and uses the information in the preselection of sons entering progeny testing. The top down scheme with one progeny per bull-dam reduced the rate of genetic gain compared with that from a breeding scheme that ignored knowledge of the quantitative trait locus. The top down scheme with reproductive performance of 3 or 40 progeny per bull-dam increased genetic gain by 1 to 2%. The bottom up scheme increased the rate of genetic gain by 1.5, 3.5, and 5% for 1, 3, and 40 progeny per bull-dam, respectively. When the top down scheme was used on the maternal path and the bottom up scheme on the paternal path, increases were 9% with 40 progeny per bull-dam. The use of reproductive technologies on bull-dams is imperative to prevent gains from marker-assisted selection being eroded by the loss in polygenic selection differential that results when more bull-dams are required to enable preselection of sons using markers.

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