Date of Award
Master of Science
Single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) methodology is being used as a means to determine genetic merit in beef cattle by interrogating animal genomes and associating the findings with performance traits. The ability to predict future trait performance is highly attractive to beef cattle producers as they can make important management and financial decisions earlier and with more certainty. To fully realize the potential of SNP testing technology the methodology must be vetted to assure producer confidence. The purpose of this project is to assess three sources of information for beef cattle trait assessment. These information sources are: SNP testing, Expected Progeny Differences (EPDs) and direct animal measures. To conduct this study, young beef bulls (n=181) consigned to the SIU Beef Evaluation Station were utilized in an 84-day period to obtain direct measures. The SIU Beef Evaluation Station uses the Calan-Broadbent confinement feeding system which allows researchers to monitor individual animal feed intake and weight gain. Feed efficiency traits are important to the cattle industry since feed is generally among the largest input cost to producers. The evaluation of bulls also assesses reproductive and carcass traits which are also important to the producer’s financial success.Individual animal performance information was sent to the bull’s respective breed association for determination of EPD’s. Blood samples were submitted to a commercial company for SNP testing (Igentiy Gold and Igenity Beef Profile, Neogen, Lincoln, NE). Data was analyzed using pairwise comparisons by source of information. Pearson correlations were used to determine the direction and the strength for sources of information to vary together. Data was determined to be correlated when the correlation coefficient was 0.3 < r < - 0.3. No correlation was observed between RFISIU :RFINEO (r = 0.042), RFINEO:F/GSIU (r = - 0.09), RFISIU:ADGNEO (r = 0.091), RFISIU:ADGSIU (r = - 0.039), RFINEO:ADGNEO (r = 0.236), BWNEO:BWSIU (r = 0.115), FRAMESIU:BWSIU (r = 0.111), FRAMESIU:BWEPD (r = 0.159), FRAMESIU:ADGSIU (r = 0.148), FRAMESIU:ADGNEO (r = -0.005), BWSIU:BWEPD (r = 0.256), and BWNEO:BWEPD (r = 0.226). Correlations were observed between RFISIU:F/GSIU (r = 0.455), ADGSIU :ADGNEO (r = 0.353), and FRAMESIU:BWNEO (r = 0.326).This study determined that beef bulls should continue to be performance tested due to discrepancies between sources of information for key animal performance traits. Assessment of SNPs used in the commercial test should continue.
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