Whole Genome Selection through Genome Wide Imputation in Beef Cattle

Improving the Canadian cattle herd

Project Leaders
Stephen Moore, University of Alberta
Stephen Miller, University of Guelph

Project Description
The beef and dairy industries contribute more than $40 billion to the Canadian economy every year. Global demand for animal protein is expected to double by 2050 and genetic improvement will be key to enabling cattle producers to meet that demand. With support from Genome Canada, Canadian researchers were directly involved with a major international undertaking to sequence the bovine genome. Now, Canadian scientists are at the forefront of developing genomic selection techniques to boost genetic improvement in cattle.

The Canadian Cattle Genome Project, formally entitled “Whole Genome Selection through Genome Wide Imputation in Beef Cattle”, is focused on delivering genomic technology to Canada’s beef industry. The project will conduct research to define the social and economic benefits and costs of using genomic technology in livestock improvement; develop tools for low-cost, accurate genome wide selection methodologies for breeders; and complete research so that genome wide selection can be used in Canadian herds for particularly difficult yet valuable traits. This technology will substantially increase rates of genetic improvement in Canadian cattle herds, thereby improving producer profitability, and product quality in Canada.

This will bring immediate benefits to breeders, enhance product traceability and lay the foundation for the next generation of technologies aimed at environmentally sustainable production. It is estimated that this research will generate benefits in excess of $300 million over the next ten years. Researchers are also studying public perceptions about the use of genomic technologies to enhance livestock attributes.

For more information please see the project’s website at www.canadacow.ca  or contact Mary De Pauw at mdepauw@ualberta.ca

: 2010 Large-Scale Applied Research Project Competition