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Accuracies of genomically estimated breeding values from pure-breed and across-breed predictions in Australian beef cattle

Boerner, Vinzent, Johnston, David J, Tier, Bruce
Genetics, selection, evolution 2014 v.46 no.1 pp. 61
Angus, Brahman, Hereford, Santa Gertrudis, Shorthorn, beef cattle, body composition, breeding value, carcass characteristics, cattle breeding, crossing, equations, genetic correlation, marker-assisted selection, models, phenotypic correlation, prediction, sires, slaughterhouses, young animals
BACKGROUND: The major obstacles for the implementation of genomic selection in Australian beef cattle are the variety of breeds and in general, small numbers of genotyped and phenotyped individuals per breed. The Australian Beef Cooperative Research Center (Beef CRC) investigated these issues by deriving genomic prediction equations (PE) from a training set of animals that covers a range of breeds and crosses including Angus, Murray Grey, Shorthorn, Hereford, Brahman, Belmont Red, Santa Gertrudis and Tropical Composite. This paper presents accuracies of genomically estimated breeding values (GEBV) that were calculated from these PE in the commercial pure-breed beef cattle seed stock sector. METHODS: PE derived by the Beef CRC from multi-breed and pure-breed training populations were applied to genotyped Angus, Limousin and Brahman sires and young animals, but with no pure-breed Limousin in the training population. The accuracy of the resulting GEBV was assessed by their genetic correlation to their phenotypic target trait in a bi-variate REML approach that models GEBV as trait observations. RESULTS: Accuracies of most GEBV for Angus and Brahman were between 0.1 and 0.4, with accuracies for abattoir carcass traits generally greater than for live animal body composition traits and reproduction traits. Estimated accuracies greater than 0.5 were only observed for Brahman abattoir carcass traits and for Angus carcass rib fat. Averaged across traits within breeds, accuracies of GEBV were highest when PE from the pooled across-breed training population were used. However, for the Angus and Brahman breeds the difference in accuracy from using pure-breed PE was small. For the Limousin breed no reasonable results could be achieved for any trait. CONCLUSION: Although accuracies were generally low compared to published accuracies estimated within breeds, they are in line with those derived in other multi-breed populations. Thus PE developed by the Beef CRC can contribute to the implementation of genomic selection in Australian beef cattle breeding.