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See detailGenomic selection and scan for major genes for a new lamb survival trait for the New Zealand sheep industry
Auvray, Benoit; Vanderick, Sylvie ULg; Newman, Sheryl-Anne et al

Poster (2012, July)

Lambing percentage is one of the most significant factors affecting profitability on New Zealand sheep farms. Since the early 1990s, lambing percentage has increased at about 1% per year from a relatively ... [more ▼]

Lambing percentage is one of the most significant factors affecting profitability on New Zealand sheep farms. Since the early 1990s, lambing percentage has increased at about 1% per year from a relatively stable level of approximately 100%, and top performing sheep farms are now consistently achieving 150% or more. As lambing percentage increases, the proportion of ewes bearing twins and triplets increases accordingly. Lamb mortality rate in these multiples is higher than in singles, with triplets being particularly susceptible. Consequently, lamb survival has become increasingly important to the New Zealand sheep industry. Sheep Improvement Ltd. (SIL, New Zealand’s national sheep genetic evaluation system owned by Beef + Lamb NZ) records lamb survival to weaning but genetic improvement has been limited due to the low heritability of the trait and the current method of recording. To address those issues, we have developed an improved survival to weaning trait for industry implementation, which is more accurate and more heritable than the current SIL trait. This poster will present results of applying genome-enabled prediction procedures to the new trait to obtain molecular breeding values. It will also describe results from a genome wide association study using the new trait. [less ▲]

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See detailDerivation of a new lamb survival trait for implementation in the New Zealand sheep industry
Vanderick, Sylvie ULg; Auvray, Benoit; Newman, Sheryl-Anne et al

Poster (2012, June)

Lambing percentage is one of the most significant factors affecting profitability on New Zealand sheep farms. Since the early 1990s, lambing percentage has increased at about 1% per year from a relatively ... [more ▼]

Lambing percentage is one of the most significant factors affecting profitability on New Zealand sheep farms. Since the early 1990s, lambing percentage has increased at about 1% per year from a relatively stable level of approximately 100%, and top performing sheep farms are now consistently achieving 150% or more. As lambing percentage increases, the proportion of ewes bearing twins and triplets increases accordingly. Lamb mortality rate in these multiples is higher than in singles, with triplets being particularly susceptible. Consequently, lamb survival has become increasingly important to the New Zealand sheep industry. Sheep Improvement Ltd (SIL, New Zealand's national sheep genetic evaluation system provided by Beef & Lamb NZ) records lamb survival to weaning but genetic improvement has been limited due to the low heritability of the trait and the current method of recording. [less ▲]

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See detailImplementing a National Routine Genetic Evaluation for Milk Fat Compositions as First Step Towards Genomic Predictions
Gengler, Nicolas ULg; Troch, Thibault ULg; Vanderick, Sylvie ULg et al

Conference (2012, May)

Currently the Walloon Region of Belgium is one of the first regions in the World where mid-infra red (MIR) spectral data is recorded in routine for nearly all cows under milk recording. Based on this data ... [more ▼]

Currently the Walloon Region of Belgium is one of the first regions in the World where mid-infra red (MIR) spectral data is recorded in routine for nearly all cows under milk recording. Based on this data, in some herds collected since 2007, saturated (SFA) and monounsaturated fatty acid (MUFA) contents in milk are predicted for each test-day. Together with correlated traits as milk, fat and protein yields, estimated breeding values (EBV) are now computed in routine for SFA and MUFA starting in June 2012. A total of 499 821, 392 255, 277 465 fatty acid records were available in first, second and third lactation for this run. A restricted selection index, called NQI (nutritional quality index) was developed that puts a negative weight on SFA, a positive weight on MUFA and restricts changes in milk and fat yields to zero. By using this index for a constant fat content, milk fat will be selected to be less saturated with a high contribution from MUFA. Based on this system a single-step genomic evaluation is under development including the introduction of MACE breeding values for correlated traits. The final step is to offer for owners of genotyped animals, a service to provide them with genomically enhanced NQI. Similar systems are under development in Wallonia for other novel traits (e.g., methane emissions) based on the ability to predict them from MIR spectral data. [less ▲]

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See detailImplementing a National Routine Genetic Evaluation for Milk Fat Compositions as First Step Towards Genomic Predictions
Gengler, Nicolas ULg; Troch, Thibault ULg; Vanderick, Sylvie ULg et al

in Interbull Bulletin (2012), 46

Currently the Walloon Region of Belgium is one of the first regions in the World where mid-infra red (MIR) spectral data is recorded in routine for nearly all cows under milk recording. Based on this data ... [more ▼]

Currently the Walloon Region of Belgium is one of the first regions in the World where mid-infra red (MIR) spectral data is recorded in routine for nearly all cows under milk recording. Based on this data, in some herds collected since 2007, saturated (SFA) and monounsaturated fatty acid (MUFA) contents in milk are predicted for each test-day. Together with correlated traits as milk, fat and protein yields, estimated breeding values (EBV) are now computed in routine for SFA and MUFA starting in June 2012. A total of 499 821, 392 255, 277 465 fatty acid records were available in first, second and third lactation for this run. A restricted selection index, called NQI (nutritional quality index) was developed that puts a negative weight on SFA, a positive weight on MUFA and restricts changes in milk and fat yields to zero. By using this index for a constant fat content, milk fat will be selected to be less saturated with a high contribution from MUFA. Based on this system a single-step genomic evaluation is under development including the introduction of MACE breeding values for correlated traits. The final step is to offer for owners of genotyped animals, a service to provide them with genomically enhanced NQI. Similar systems are under development in Wallonia for other novel traits (e.g., methane emissions) based on the ability to predict them from MIR spectral data. [less ▲]

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See detailIs It Possible to Define a European Total Merit Index?
Vanderick, Sylvie ULg; Faux, Pierre ULg; Gengler, Nicolas ULg

in Interbull Bulletin (2012), 44

Developing a common European bull list is an objective of the PROTEJE (PROduction Traits European Joint Evaluation) workgroup started in 2001 as an initiative of the European Holstein herdbooks. Six Total ... [more ▼]

Developing a common European bull list is an objective of the PROTEJE (PROduction Traits European Joint Evaluation) workgroup started in 2001 as an initiative of the European Holstein herdbooks. Six Total Merit Indexes were compared to define a common breeding goal across Europe. A principal component analysis was used to observe the direction of the largest common variation among the studied Total Merit Indexes. Results showed that the considered indexes had a lot in common. The first principal component explained 86% of the total variation. Based on previous researches establishing combined proofs on a European phantom scale for most traits and trait groups and using a multiple regression for this European Total Merit Index, relative emphases on production and functionality of 37% and on conformation of 26% could be established. [less ▲]

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See detailIs It Possible to Define a European Total Merit Index? (Presentation for the PROTEJE group)
Vanderick, Sylvie ULg; Faux, Pierre ULg; Gengler, Nicolas ULg

Conference (2011, August 27)

Possibility of having one common european list of bulls was investigated by principal component analysis (PCA) on 6 european nationals total merit indexes (TMI). Results showed that a european TMI can ... [more ▼]

Possibility of having one common european list of bulls was investigated by principal component analysis (PCA) on 6 european nationals total merit indexes (TMI). Results showed that a european TMI can never completely replace national TMIs, since they represent local differences. [less ▲]

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See detailIs there value in maintaining small populations ? Example of the Dual-Purpose Belgian Blue breed.
Gengler, Nicolas ULg; Soyeurt, Hélène ULg; Bastin, Catherine ULg et al

Conference (2011, July 13)

Current status of thinking on genomic selection in dairy cattle is mostly major breed centric (e.g., Holstein) and only for traditional traits (e.g., milk yields). Once you depart from this, it becomes ... [more ▼]

Current status of thinking on genomic selection in dairy cattle is mostly major breed centric (e.g., Holstein) and only for traditional traits (e.g., milk yields). Once you depart from this, it becomes obvious that different, often related, issues appear (e.g., lack of large training populations, need for expensive recording of new phenotypes). Also, there is an urgent need to rethink issues that are important for sustainability of dairy production (e.g., added value foods, animal robustness). In this context, small populations (breeds/lines) could represent a potential source of extra information to justify their maintenance. As marker densities increase, efficient dissection of different selection histories of divergent breeds or lines, potentially identifying pockets of unexploited variability will increase. A current example from the Belgian (Walloon) perspective is the Dual Purpose (DP) line of the Belgian Blue Breed (BBB), with presently around 4500 breeding females, for historical reason of which only 1500 have good pedigrees, and which is present in Belgium and northern France. Recent research, done on this line, showed its tendency to produce less saturated milk fat and to have better fertility. Results indicated that it could stay competitive in specific markets, especially because of largely increased meat value. Currently, the myostatin mutation is largely used for breeding purposes. To assess the genetic diversity of the breed, recently, over 200 genotypes (SNP50K) for nearly all breeding bulls of the last 20 years became available. HD genotypes should be available in the near future, also allowing to access selection history of this breed as being in between the 2 extreme breeds: Beef BBB (with which it shares a recent history) and Holstein-Friesian (which is related through its geographic proximity over centuries). Finally, genomic selection for DP-BBB will need to consider a single step type approach without the need of reference population and potentially relying heavily on SNP3K of cows, also with the objective to recreate relationships between animals of interest. [less ▲]

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See detailEuropean TMI estimation
Vanderick, Sylvie ULg; Faux, Pierre ULg; Gengler, Nicolas ULg

Conference given outside the academic context (2011)

Total Merit Indexes (TMI) of 6 national evaluations (France, Germany, Walloon Region of Belgium, Italy, Netherlands and Nordic countries) were available. A principal component analysis was performed on ... [more ▼]

Total Merit Indexes (TMI) of 6 national evaluations (France, Germany, Walloon Region of Belgium, Italy, Netherlands and Nordic countries) were available. A principal component analysis was performed on this data in order to assess the common direction of selection between those 6 countries. Results showed that this methodology was a good basis to define a common european TMI. [less ▲]

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See detailIs there value in maintaining small populations ? Example of the Dual-Purpose Belgian Blue breed.
Gengler, Nicolas ULg; Soyeurt, Hélène ULg; Bastin, Catherine ULg et al

in Journal of Dairy Science (2011), 94(E-suppl.1), 664

Current status of thinking on genomic selection in dairy cattle is mostly major breed centric (e.g., Holstein) and only for traditional traits (e.g., milk yields). Once you depart from this, it becomes ... [more ▼]

Current status of thinking on genomic selection in dairy cattle is mostly major breed centric (e.g., Holstein) and only for traditional traits (e.g., milk yields). Once you depart from this, it becomes obvious that different, often related, issues appear (e.g., lack of large training populations, need for expensive recording of new phenotypes). Also, there is an urgent need to rethink issues that are important for sustainability of dairy production (e.g., added value foods, animal robustness). In this context, small populations (breeds/lines) could represent a potential source of extra information to justify their maintenance. As marker densities increase, efficient dissection of different selection histories of divergent breeds or lines, potentially identifying pockets of unexploited variability will increase. A current example from the Belgian (Walloon) perspective is the Dual Purpose (DP) line of the Belgian Blue Breed (BBB), with presently around 4500 breeding females, for historical reason of which only 1500 have good pedigrees, and which is present in Belgium and northern France. Recent research, done on this line, showed its tendency to produce less saturated milk fat and to have better fertility. Results indicated that it could stay competitive in specific markets, especially because of largely increased meat value. Currently, the myostatin mutation is largely used for breeding purposes. To assess the genetic diversity of the breed, recently, over 200 genotypes (SNP50K) for nearly all breeding bulls of the last 20 years became available. HD genotypes should be available in the near future, also allowing to access selection history of this breed as being in between the 2 extreme breeds: Beef BBB (with which it shares a recent history) and Holstein-Friesian (which is related through its geographic proximity over centuries). Finally, genomic selection for DP-BBB will need to consider a single step type approach without the need of reference population and potentially relying heavily on SNP3K of cows, also with the objective to recreate relationships between animals of interest. [less ▲]

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Peer Reviewed
See detailGenetic correlations among body condition score, yield and fertility in multiparous cows using random regression models
Bastin, Catherine ULg; Gillon, Alain ULg; Massart, Xavier et al

in Proceedings of the 9th World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production (2010, August)

Genetic correlations between body condition score (BCS) in lactation 1 to 3 and four economically important traits (days open, 305-days milk, fat, and protein yields recorded in the first 3 lactations ... [more ▼]

Genetic correlations between body condition score (BCS) in lactation 1 to 3 and four economically important traits (days open, 305-days milk, fat, and protein yields recorded in the first 3 lactations) were estimated on about 12,500 Walloon Holstein cows using 4-trait random regression models. Results indicated moderate favorable genetic correlations between BCS and days open (from -0.46 to -0.62) and suggested the use of BCS for indirect selection on fertility. However, unfavorable genetic correlations between BCS and yields (from -0.16 to -0.71) indicated that selection on BCS would have deleterious effects on milk, fat, and protein yields, especially in lactation greater than 1. [less ▲]

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See detailFemale fertility expression in Walloon dairy cattle
Vanderick, Sylvie ULg; Bastin, Catherine ULg; Gengler, Nicolas ULg

Poster (2010, August)

A useful method to express female fertility of the Walloon dairy cattle using direct and indirect female fertility information was considered. Data were based on results of the genetic evaluation of ... [more ▼]

A useful method to express female fertility of the Walloon dairy cattle using direct and indirect female fertility information was considered. Data were based on results of the genetic evaluation of pregnancy rate for 606,328 Holstein cows and on INTERBULL proofs of female fertility for 88,496 bulls. A direct female fertility index (DFF), using INTERBULL proofs, was developed from results of a principal component analysis carried out on 6 published foreign female fertility indexes. An indirect female fertility index (IFF) was also developed from ten other traits evaluated in Walloon Region. Theory of selection index was used to combine DFF and IFF in a global index called combined female fertility index (CFF). This index allowed young bulls to have better reliabilities with an average increase of 12% leading to extra 4,019 of publishable bulls for female fertility. [less ▲]

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See detailHeterogeneity of residuals variances of milk fatty acids in dairy cattle
Arnould, Valérie ULg; Soyeurt, Hélène ULg; Vanderick, Sylvie ULg et al

in Journal of Dairy Science (2010, July), 88(E-Suppl. 2), 744

Routine genetic evaluation for milk fatty acids is under development in the Walloon Region of Belgium. The objective of this study was to test the heterogeneity of residual variances and therefore ... [more ▼]

Routine genetic evaluation for milk fatty acids is under development in the Walloon Region of Belgium. The objective of this study was to test the heterogeneity of residual variances and therefore indirectly the potential need to adjust for this heterogeneity if it exists. The residuals were computed as the difference between the observed and the estimated values using a multi-trait random regression test-day model, similar to the Walloon routine model, used for first lactation only milk yield, quantities and percentages of protein (PROT) and fat (FAT), content of saturated fatty acids in milk (g/100g of milk, SAT) and, content of mono-unsaturated fatty acids in milk (g/100g of milk, MONO). Residuals were considered homogeneous inside strata defined, among others, by weeks of lactation, by days in milk and by calendar months of test date. About 6,687,000 records were available for milk yield and for FAT and PROT parameters. For SAT and for MONO, about 184,000 records were available in this database. Means of residuals were stable and close to zero for all traits. Variances were more variable for MONO and SAT than for milk yield, for example. Daily and weekly variances tended to decrease at the end of the lactation (50%). When the variances were computed by month of test date, some variations were observed and some periods of year were more marked. In conclusion, the observed residual variances were less stable for MONO and SAT. We can conclude that introduction for heterogeneous residual variance is more important for the new traits (MONO, SAT) than it was for the old, traditional ones. [less ▲]

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See detailHeterogeneity of residuals variances of milk fatty acids in dairy cattle
Arnould, Valérie ULg; Soyeurt, Hélène ULg; Vanderick, Sylvie ULg et al

Conference (2010, July)

Routine genetic evaluation for milk fatty acids is under development in the Walloon Region of Belgium. The objective of this study was to test the heterogeneity of residual variances and therefore ... [more ▼]

Routine genetic evaluation for milk fatty acids is under development in the Walloon Region of Belgium. The objective of this study was to test the heterogeneity of residual variances and therefore indirectly the potential need to adjust for this heterogeneity if it exists. The residuals were computed as the difference between the observed and the estimated values using a multi-trait random regression test-day model, similar to the Walloon routine model, used for first lactation only milk yield, quantities and percentages of protein (PROT) and fat (FAT), content of saturated fatty acids in milk (g/100g of milk, SAT) and, content of mono-unsaturated fatty acids in milk (g/100g of milk, MONO). Residuals were considered homogeneous inside strata defined, among others, by weeks of lactation, by days in milk and by calendar months of test date. About 6,687,000 records were available for milk yield and for FAT and PROT parameters. For SAT and for MONO, about 184,000 records were available in this database. Means of residuals were stable and close to zero for all traits. Variances were more variable for MONO and SAT than for milk yield, for example. Daily and weekly variances tended to decrease at the end of the lactation (50%). When the variances were computed by month of test date, some variations were observed and some periods of year were more marked. In conclusion, the observed residual variances were less stable for MONO and SAT. We can conclude that introduction for heterogeneous residual variance is more important for the new traits (MONO, SAT) than it was for the old, traditional ones. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 64 (23 ULg)