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Irish Cattle Breeding Federation Teams With Illumina to Genotype More Than 2M Animals

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – The Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF) has selected Illumina as technology partner for its Beef Data and Genomics Program, Illumina said this week.

The program, announced in May, is funded with €300 million ($342 million) from the Irish government and aims to accelerate genetic improvement in the national cattle herd and to increase its environmental and economic stability. ICBF selected Illumina as its partner in June.

Under the program, which will run from 2015 until 2020, participating farmers will submit samples of 15 percent of their animals to ICBF for genotyping, along with data related to performance criteria and other information.

ICBF, a non-profit organization, plans to genotype a million cattle by 2017 and more than 2 million by the end of the project.

The project will first identify DNA variants in more than 200 cattle by next-generation sequencing. Based on these, Illumina will then design a custom SNP array using its Infinium BeadChip technology, which will be employed to genotype large numbers of animals.

"Illumina is thrilled to be part of the first project anywhere in the world to genotype 1 million animals," said Iain MacLaren-Lee, market development manager for agrigenomics at Illumina, in a statement.

In the past, the Irish cattle industry has relied on the so-called International Dairy & Beef Chip, which combines base content from Illumina's BovineLD array with custom SNPs, genotyping more than 120,000 dairy and beef cattle last year.

Illumina did not disclose financial details of the technology partnership with ICBF.