GeneSeek® innovation expands use of GE-EPDs across cattle industry

February 05, 2014

CONTACT: Dr. Stewart Bauck, NEOGEN Corporation, 402.435.0665

LINCOLN, Neb., Feb. 5, 2014 — Cattle producers have made tremendous progress in adding genomic data to expected progeny difference (EPD) information, the yardstick used to estimate genetic merit. “A year ago, we introduced the GeneSeek® Genomic Profiler™, or GGP-HD,” said Stewart Bauck, DVM, general manager of GeneSeek. “In 2014, at least six major breed associations are using GGP HD technology to enhance their EPDs, improving accuracy and helping bull producers make decisions about sire candidates earlier in life.

Angus, Red Angus, Hereford, Simmental, Limousin and Gelbvieh associations have adopted GE EPDs, and GeneSeek continues to work with breed associations, academic institutions and research agencies to refine, improve and enhance the value of genomics in cattle production.

“We are pleased to be at the forefront of this technology and working with our association partners on deploying it for the cattle industry,” Bauck added. “DNA testing is all about the value of time. These are powerful tools to estimate the genetic merit of cattle earlier in life. So producers can make money by taking advantage of the value of time and making appropriate decisions about animal selection earlier.”

GE-EPDs are traditional EPDs integrated with genomics data. A traditional EPD consists of pedigree relationships, the sire’s own performance data, such as birth weight, weaning weight, yearly weight, along with data collected from that animal’s progeny.

“The genomic-enhanced EPD includes the additional genomics information. So it’s brought in just like another trait,” Bauck said. GeneSeek offers two versions of the GeneSeek Genomic Profiler testing tool for seedstock producers: the GGPHD and GGP-LD tests. The GGP-HD test uses a high-density panel that includes genetic markers for 78,000 SNPs, or single nucleotide polymorphisms, that are referenced in DNA tests. It is the highest density SNP chip routinely used in beef cattle evaluations. The GGP-LD has about 20,000 SNPs.

Both test panels detect SNPs, which are variable points on genes that can affect animal traits. GeneSeek scans DNA samples and compares the results to reference populations, and then reports how the test results can predict performance.

“This technology has benefited from increasing the density of the SNP marker panels, to improve the accuracy of the prediction and expand the number of traits measured,” Bauck said. “The GeneSeek Genomic Profiler HD, with 78,000 SNPs, is the current industry standard in cattle genetic evaluations. Scientists are zeroing in on critical gene variations and are able to include those into the GGP, a unique benefit for the GeneSeek Genomic Profiler. We have also introduced the GGP low-density chip, or GGP-LD. It costs less than the high-density chip and provides very similar results at about half the cost.”

Producers access these tests primarily through their breed associations, which use DNA tests to enhance sire EPDs and register purebred stock. Bauck encourages producers to learn more about how breed associations are employing the emerging technology.

“For the future, testing costs will continue to go down. Adoption will continue to increase. And at a certain point, if you’re not doing it, you are definitely going to be on the outside looking in,” he said.

NEOGEN Corporation (NASDAQ: NEOG) develops and markets products dedicated to food and animal safety. NEOGEN’s animal genomics businesses, GeneSeek and Igenity, provide value-added services to leading agricultural genetics providers, large national cattle associations, companion animal breed registries, university researchers, and numerous commercial cattle producers. For more information, visit www.NEOGEN.com.

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Category: Solutions