Charolais Society embraces SNP technology for improved breeding

Charolais technology TD Farm
CHAIR: Charolais Society chairman Chris Curry.

WITH advancements in tech-nology and a greater need for farmer efficiencies and improved breeding, the Charolais Society has announced a change in its DNA testing procedures from July 1, 2018, which will benefit its members and the industry as a whole.

Following two years of planning, the Charolais Society is embracing single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) testing, which is a much more comprehensive test than the outdated Microsatellite testing.

Society Chairman Chris Curry commented: “Technology has ad-vanced so much since we started DNA testing using hair samples nearly 20 years ago and at the same time as changing to SNP testing, we are seizing the opportunity to improve the integrity of the breed, by introducing female testing and including myostatin analysis which will help to provide breeders with vital information to improve their herd.”

The SNP chip, which the hair, tissue or semen samples are tested on, produces 50,000 gene markers and for the purposes of parentage analysis over 200 are used.

In comparison, the Microsatellite testing produces a 16-marker profile for each animal which can only be used to determine if the parentage is correct.

The additional markers produced by the SNP profile can be used to discover a wealth of other information, not only to determine if the animal has myostatin or polled genes, but future advances will enable many more tests to be carried out from this one profile.

One such advance that is being developed at the moment is to determine which genes govern TB resistance. Other advantages will include being able to predict more accurately carcase quality and meat yield.

Chris went on to say: “SNP technology has been used by Weatherbys Scientific since 2010 and will be a valued addition to the animal data already available to our members. It will provide additional details to enable them to make more informed breeding decisions for their herd.

“Knowing the myostatin status of your animals will help you to select bulls with the most appropriate myostatin traits for your breeding programme.

“This will lead to even better calving ease and help with the ever-present trend to improve carcase confirmation and quality, he added.

“Once we have established a myostatin database, the results will be displayed with the other animal details on our online database, on pedigree certificates and in sale catalogues.

“As a society we are leading the way in DNA testing, and I believe the Charolais breed will be stronger as a result. Better selection processes will result in more efficient and market desirable animals and lead to higher demand for Charolais bulls from commercial producers,” he concluded.

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