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UK, US, Canada Partner on Cattle Genetics

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – A group of partners focused on cattle breeding and dairy cows in the UK, US, and Canada have agreed to share genomic evaluation data that they will use to inform breeding programs.

The international agreement will enable more accurate genomic testing and more reliable evaluations of bulls and female cattle, in part because sharing information from multiple countries will increase the total number of cattle being evaluated, according to the non-profit DairyCo, a division of the UK's Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board.

"Genomic evaluations represent an advance for cattle breeders, and this collaboration means when they become available in the UK later this year they will be more accurate and reliable than we could have achieved on our own," Marco Winters, DairyCo's head of genetics, said in a statement.

"Two key factors will contribute to this reliability. One is the high numbers of bulls whose genotypes will be measured across three countries, the other is UK investment in the 'high density' technology which has been adopted to genotype a new tranche of around 2,500 bulls being used in the UK and North America," Winters explained.

"High numbers are critical to the reliability of this process, and it is this, above all, which has driven the collaboration," he added.

The partners in the UK include the Scottish Agricultural College for calculating genomic evaluations; Cogent and Genus ABS as contributing partners; Milk as a recording organization; National Milk Records; CIS and the United Dairy Farmers; and Holstein UK for data sharing.

The North American partners include the National Association of Animal Breeders in the US, and in Canada the Canadian Dairy Network and the Cooperative Dairy DNA Repository.

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