Strategy for applying genome-wide selection in dairy cattle

J Anim Breed Genet. 2006 Aug;123(4):218-23. doi: 10.1111/j.1439-0388.2006.00595.x.


Animals can be genotyped for thousands of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) at one time, where the SNPs are located at roughly 1-cM intervals throughout the genome. For each contiguous pair of SNPs there are four possible haplotypes that could be inherited from the sire. The effects of each interval on a trait can be estimated for all intervals simultaneously in a model where interval effects are random factors. Given the estimated effects of each haplotype for every interval in the genome, and given an animal's genotype, a 'genomic' estimated breeding value is obtained by summing the estimated effects for that genotype. The accuracy of that estimator of breeding values is around 80%. Because the genomic estimated breeding values can be calculated at birth, and because it has a high accuracy, a strategy that utilizes these advantages was compared with a traditional progeny testing strategy under a typical Canadian-like dairy cattle situation. Costs of proving bulls were reduced by 92% and genetic change was increased by a factor of 2. Genome-wide selection may become a popular tool for genetic improvement in livestock.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Breeding / economics
  • Breeding / methods*
  • Cattle / genetics*
  • Dairying / methods*
  • Female
  • Genetic Markers
  • Genome / genetics*
  • Haplotypes
  • Male
  • Models, Genetic
  • Selection, Genetic*


  • Genetic Markers