The success of a project to incorporate new gene markers into
existing sheep breeding systems will allow UK sheep producers
to take advantage of the latest genetic technology according
to representatives from the Charollais, Suffolk and Texel breeds.
MASACS*, a project that has been underway since June 2004 has
already identified DNA markers for muscle depth and worm resistance
and ways to use these to strengthen performance recording.
MLC Senior Geneticist Gert Nieuwhof said: "Commercial ram
breeders should be aware that with new genetic markers becoming
commercially available soon, there is a opportunity to use such
information along with current recording systems in order to make
sustained improvements to performance and other traits such as
Jonathan Barber of Charollais Sires stated:
"MASACS will provide an infrastructure to allow the incorporation
of these markers into enhanced EBVs, and software development is
underway to allow this.
"Importantly, this system will provide a platform to incorporate
new genetic markers and genetic technologies to be delivered to
UK sheep producers and incorporated into existing breeding systems".
Chief Executive of the Texel Sheep Society Steve McLean said: "A
major strength of the project is that it incorporates all the important
players in the UK breeding industry including major breed societies,
the MLC and Signet, Roslin Institute, the Edinburgh Genetic Evaluations
Unit and also BASCO".
Prof. Steve Bishop, Roslin Institute, project leader commented: "It
is important to note that these new markers will provide supplementary
information to enhance current EBVs in Marker Assisted Selection
"The markers identified give greater assurance with regard
to muscle depth which will mean the commercial farmer will have
far greater confidence that this ram will outperform unrecorded
MASACS - Marker Assisted Selection Applied to Commercial Sheep.
A gene marker is a position on a chromosome linked to a trait of
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