Cattle Today

Cattle Today



Duluth, Ga., May 30, 2007 — The American Gelbvieh Association (AGA) recently announced that IGENITY® will be conducting the breed's parentage verifications.

“DNA technology has come a long way in recent years, and we decided we needed to look at DNA from a broader perspective than as a parentage tool alone,” says Susan Willmon, AGA director of breed improvement. “The switch to IGENITY puts us in a great position to take advantage of the most current DNA technologies available and sets us up for a smooth transition to new analyses and technologies as they develop.”

In addition to determining parentage for potential registration, the change also allows breeders the option of running the comprehensive IGENITY profile from the same tissue sample. IGENITY worked with technology transferred from the USDA U.S. Meat Animal Research Center and Cornell University to develop a parentage panel based on single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) technology. Having the SNP-based parentage panel means both parentage and genetic analyses — for economically important traits such as quality grade and tenderness — can be run from the same sample. AGA is the first breed association to take advantage of the SNP-based parentage verification.

“In the Gelbvieh breed, the new SNP-based parentage panel can have the power to identify the correct sire from a random group of more than 100,000 sires, even without information about the dam,” says Dr. Stewart Bauck, Executive Director, IGENITY.

In addition to a more definitive parentage result, the new technology allows producers to get the comprehensive IGENITY profile with their parentage verification results, giving them access to inside information about traits that can help them make important selection, management and marketing decisions.

The IGENITY profile includes traits of economic importance, such as tenderness potential, fat thickness, ribeye area, yield grade, hot carcass weight, quality grade and marbling as well as a diagnostic test for identifying cattle persistently infected with bovine viral diarrhea.

“Some of our members currently get IGENITY profiles on calves after weaning,” Willmon notes. “Now that they will be able to get the profile and parentage verification in one package, several are looking at changing some herd management practices to take advantage of this.”

Willmon says that if producers plan to run both the IGENITY profile and parentage verification tests, they now could use multiple sires per pasture — which typically means higher conception rates and better pasture management — and still get all of the information they need to confirm parentage and get a DNA profile from just one sample.

All AGA parentage verification requests will now run through IGENITY. AGA and IGENITY will work together to convert microsatellite tests on file to the IGENITY system.

“We are very excited about the change,” Willmon says. “We have embraced DNA technology and see the value of having as much data as possible on our animals. We are a progressive breed, and we are looking forward to the advantages of using SNP-based genotyping and the IGENITY profile to help further improve our genetics.”

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