Genomic selection has revolutionized dairy cattle breeding – transforming dairy genetics more than any other innovation since artificial insemination started in the 1930s.

Photo Courtesy of World Wide Sires

Genomic testing and marker-assisted genetic evaluations have completely changed the mating, marketing and selection of males and females as parents of the next generation. While genomic selection started with the genotyping of breeding males, female genomic testing has soared in recent years. With genotyping at affordable levels for commercial herds, genomic evaluations have become an indispensable tool for mating, culling and herd management decisions in herds worldwide.

The U.S. was among the pioneers that led the research, development and adoption of genomic selection. Geneticists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture developed innovative methodologies that are now foundational and adopted in many other countries. Through collaboration among many organizations and countries, the U.S. National Cooperator Database has grown to be the world’s largest animal database, strengthened with sophisticated data quality assurance.

Through this innovation, leadership and the broad acceptance by dairy producers, genomic selection has doubled the annual rate of genetic gain in U.S. Holsteins.

Genomic Selection

Decisions based on genomic breeding values, or predictions of genetic merit through DNA analysis and genetic marker effects

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Genomic Testing

Evaluation of genetic merit through genotyping and computing genomic evaluations

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Genetic Conditions

Genetic variants that cause a specific phenotypic expression, which may be desirable or detrimental

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Genotype Data

The U.S. system integrates genotypic data from certified genotyping labs and international partners

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