Left side

Benefits of Collaboration

Offering an international perspective on genomics, Donagh Berry focuses on the the benefits of sharing genotypes.

by Troy Smith, field editor, Angus Journal®

LINCOLN, Neb. (June 20, 2014) — If beef producers want to make more rapid genetic improvement, through genomic selection, they ought to collaborate. That was the advice an Irish geneticist offered during a presentation to the 2014 Beef Improvement Federation Annual Meeting & Research Symposium June 18-21 in Lincoln, Neb. Donagh Berry is a researcher associated with Teagasc, an arm of Ireland’s government whose mission is similar to that of the USDA Agricultural Research Service.

Donagh Berry

“Sharing genotypes voids costly duplication,” said Donagh Berry or Teagasc. “No competitive advantage is gained by genotyping the same animal twice.”

Berry talked about the need for huge datasets in order to evaluate DNA effects. While the cost of genotyping animals has been dramatically reduced, it still costs money. It costs even more to collect phenotypes — the measured expression of various traits — from large populations. But phenotypic information is essential for greater accuracy of genomic selection.

“Because of the costs, it is advantageous to collaborate as much as possible,” stated Berry.

Berry explained that his research experience has primarily involved dairy cattle, for which genomic-enhanced selection has been practiced longer than with beef cattle. He noted the several reasons why the beef industry lags behind, including the multiple breeds involved, the fewer numbers of beef producers keeping extensive records and the absence of international genetic evaluation. All of these things make advancement in genomic selection more challenging and more costly.

“The solution is collaboration between countries. We can keep costs down by swapping data, and everybody wins,” Berry said, while explaining the widespread international collaboration among dairy populations, both in sharing genotypes and phenotypes.

“Sharing genotypes voids costly duplication,” Berry added. “No competitive advantage is gained by genotyping the same animal twice.”

According the Berry, shared access to phenotypes on a large population of animals increases the accuracy of genomic prediction, particularly for novel traits for which there is limited phenotypic information. As an example, he described a collaboration between nine countries in Europe, Asia and North America, which combined dry-matter intake data from many thousands of Holstein-Friesian cows and heifers.

“The point is that nine countries understood that the only way to achieve accurate genomic predictions was to pool their respective assets,” stated Berry. “The same approach can be applied to other traits or cattle of other breeds.”

The 2014 BIF Annual Meeting & Research Symposium was hosted by the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center and the Nebraska Cattlemen June 18-21 in Lincoln, Neb. The Angus Journal and LiveAuctions.tv provide online coverage of the event at www.BIFconference.com. Visit the Newsroom for summaries, proceedings, PowerPoints and audio of the sessions; the Awards page for announcements of award winners; and Photos page for galleries of photos from the meeting and the tours.

Editor’s Note: This summary was written under contract or by staff of the Angus Journal. Through an agreement with the Beef Improvement Federation, we are encouraging reprinting of the articles to those who will adhere to the reprint guidelines available on this site. Please review those guidelines or contact Shauna Rose Hermel, editor, at 816-383-5270. PowerPoints are posted with permission of the presenter and may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the express permission of the presenter.

Angus Journal's coverage of the event is made possible through collaboration with BIF and sponsorship of LiveAuctions.tv. For questions about this site, or to notify us of broken links, click here.

Headquartered in Saint Joseph, Mo., Angus Productions Inc. (API) publishes the Angus Journal, the Angus Beef Bulletin, the Angus Beef Bulletin EXTRA, and the Angus Journal Daily, as well as providing online coverage of events and topics pertinent to cattlemen through the Angus Journal Virtual Library.

BIF Conference

Site sponsored by


Other Angus Journal
event sites …

Visit the
Angus Journal
topic library …

The topic sites in our library offer gateways to information on body condition scoring, beef cow efficiency, country-of-origin labeling, targeting the Certified Angus Beef® brand and more.

Sign up for…

Angus Journal.
Angus Journal
Copyright © 2014

Right side