Genomic Selection in Dairy Cattle: The USDA Experience

Annu Rev Anim Biosci. 2017 Feb 8:5:309-327. doi: 10.1146/annurev-animal-021815-111422. Epub 2016 Nov 16.


Genomic selection has revolutionized dairy cattle breeding. Since 2000, assays have been developed to genotype large numbers of single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) at relatively low cost. The first commercial SNP genotyping chip was released with a set of 54,001 SNPs in December 2007. Over 15,000 genotypes were used to determine which SNPs should be used in genomic evaluation of US dairy cattle. Official USDA genomic evaluations were first released in January 2009 for Holsteins and Jerseys, in August 2009 for Brown Swiss, in April 2013 for Ayrshires, and in April 2016 for Guernseys. Producers have accepted genomic evaluations as accurate indications of a bull's eventual daughter-based evaluation. The integration of DNA marker technology and genomics into the traditional evaluation system has doubled the rate of genetic progress for traits of economic importance, decreased generation interval, increased selection accuracy, reduced previous costs of progeny testing, and allowed identification of recessive lethals.

Keywords: SNP; genetic evaluation; genotype; haplotype; imputation; reliability; single-nucleotide polymorphism.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Breeding*
  • Cattle / genetics*
  • Female
  • Genome
  • Genomics
  • Genotype
  • Guernsey
  • Male
  • Selection, Genetic*
  • United States
  • United States Department of Agriculture