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Assessment of the genetic and economic impact of performance recording and genotyping in Australian commercial sheep operations

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With the new opportunities from DNA technology, multitier breeding schemes have the potential to become more effective and more integrated. Integrated breeding schemes can also be better adapted to account for potential genotype by environment interactions (G × E) between tiers. In this case, phenotypic and genotype information from lower tiers becomes more valuable as it involves measurement of traits that directly represent the breeding objective. The objective of this study was to compare scenarios that represented different selection strategies and their economic effectiveness in fine‐wool commercial sheep operations that exploit multitier breeding structures. Genomic selection (GS) applied in the multiplier and the commercial tier presented the largest additional revenue among all scenarios, as it resulted in the largest amount of genetic progress. The largest benefits from GS were outweighed by the genotyping costs, which made DNA parentage the most feasible strategy for the multiplier tier, resulting in the highest cumulative net present value (CNPV). The benefits of phenotypes and genotype information from the commercial environment were larger in the presence of G × E between the nucleus and the commercial tier. The CNPV was larger with a 50% reduction in genotyping costs, which increased the returns of GS scenarios by 2.7‐fold on average. Higher selection intensity when selecting multiplier rams also resulted in larger benefits. In this case, returns for the breeding scheme were 3.5‐fold higher when 33% of multiplier males were selected based on commercial information, compared to scenarios selecting 50% of the available multiplier rams. The benefits of collecting commercial phenotypes and genotypes were long term, which means that return on investment often took more than 10 years to be achieved, and were largely dependent on two‐stage selection to reduce cost while maintaining selection efficiency and on the cost of a genotype test.
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Keywords: breeding programme; economic value; genomic selection; phenotypes; selection; sheep

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2018

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