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ALMA Alberta Livestock & Meat Agency Ltd. Canadian Bovine Genomics Workshop September 14, 2009 Calgary, Alberta

CBGW Diane Panrucker Panel

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This is a presentation from the Canadian Bovine Genomics Workshop held in Calgary, Alberta on Sept.14, 2009. The workshop was the first step in developing a national bovine genomics strategy for Canada.

Text of CBGW Diane Panrucker Panel

  • 1.ALMAAlberta Livestock & Meat Agency Ltd.Canadian Bovine Genomics Workshop September 14, 2009 Calgary, Alberta

2. Questions to Panel 1 Participants Diane Panrucker 3.

  • Currently, purebred breeders use measurements of phenotype traits to genetically select for:
    • Optimal production, convenience, and carcass traits
    • Environmental Adaptation
    • Breed complementarities
    • Hybrid vigor


  • Selection based on phenotypehas resulted in the fine tuning that individual breeds need in order to respond to the market drivers within their particular environment.
  • The major downside of traditional selection is the length of generation time required to establish proofs of change.


  • Marker assisted selection can be applied to economic, production and convenience traits more directly, resulting in an accelerated rate of genetic change.
    • Increase uniformity, predictability and accuracy of carcass value inlive seedstock
    • Increase profitability through feed efficiency
    • Identification of convenience traits such as polled, colour and docility etc.
    • Improved predictability with regard to animal health, (For example, genetic defects, innate resistance to BVD, Johnes disease)
    • Traceability
    • Internationally recognized parentage identification/verification including multi-sire groups


  • Can marker assisted selection be used to reinforce breed distinctions or will there be a tendency to homogenize all breeds based on current market drivers?
  • How important is variation to the overall survival and productivity of the cattle industry?
  • Do we need to reaffirm the necessity for the propagation of specific breeds?
  • Widely different production environments will require the ability to quickly adapt to change in market or environmental constraints.


  • Those that benefit the most economically are those that have the most control of the end product.The more sectors within the production chain, the less the economic rewards will flow to the beginning of the chain.Risk, on the other hand, is spread more evenly throughout the sectors.anonymous
  • Incentive for investing in technology, new or old, must show a reasonable expectation of economic benefit to those paying the cost.


  • Applied research, like industry, is driven by market forces.Commercialization of technology as an end product must stand up to supply and demand i.e. those that benefit must be willing to pay.
  • Risk/Benefit must be shared by both research and commercialization.


  • Major challenge facing CGA is the lack of access to carcass data back to breeders.
  • Sustaining the Genetic Quality of Ruminants (SGQR) grant in 2005 provided opportunities:
  • DNA profiles on all active sires (AI and pasture) using the marker panel offered at that time by Bovigen.
  • Subsidized ultrasound was done on the abovesires and all calendar year bull prospects.
  • Correlation between ultrasound and SNPs were not always perfect but results were nonetheless very interesting.


  • To continue this research usinggenomic technology, the CGA has entered into an agreement with Dr. Moores group at the University of Alberta to collect samples from active Gelbvieh sires, cows and their progeny including the dead.
  • To date, we have an estimated 68% of the Gelbvieh herd collected.
  • The U of A is providing parentage testing on all active cattle, embryo calves and donors.


  • CGA has international EPDs and mandatory ROP since 1996
  • The ultimate goal is the addition of all SNP data to existing carcass and ultrasound data to improve the accuracy of Carcass EPDs or GDPs internationally.
  • The AGA has also invested in the testing a significant number of sires using available SNPs .
  • Many individuals have independently provided SNP data on select sires and dams


  • Canada has become well known for the quality of our cow herd.As we are not now, nor do we expect to be, a low cost producer, it is to our advantage to instead promote the quality, uniformity, and health of our genetic base.
  • Our genetics, when coupled with favorable environment and climate, high health standards, and a relatively stable economy would help in branding superior Canadian beef.


    • Accelerated selection of superior traits
    • Increased predictability, uniformity and consistency
    • Improved herd health
    • Traceability