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Stackyard News Oct 09

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IGENITY Profiling to Help increase Jersey Breed’s Rate of Genetic Gain 2009-10-09

All young Jersey bulls in the UK will be genotyped using the IGENITY® profile following an agreement between Merial and the Jersey Cattle Society of the United Kingdom.

Nick Munce, Igenity (left) and Peter Prior, UK Jerseys
sign the contract

Nick Munce, Igenity (left) and Peter Prior, UK Jerseys sign the contract

The agreement was officially signed at this year’s South West Dairy Show and it means that all young UK Jersey bulls will soon have inside information from the comprehensive IGENITY profile.

“This is a world first and we’re very excited about the possibilities that such a programme will offer to UK’s Jersey breeders,” said the Society’s Roger Trewhella.

“Never before has a breed offered comprehensive genetic information on its young male animals. In other countries this information has been limited to AI organisations with breeders only receiving full genetic analysis of their female stock.”

He said that access to inside information from IGENITY on young bulls is vital to the development of the Jersey breed throughout the UK.

“Herd Book registrations in 2008 included 22% of calves born by natural service, to a home-bred, unproven, sire. Just 6% of the total was born to UK-bred proven sires.

“And each year UK Jerseys register more than 150 pedigree bull calves. But most never achieve proven status. With the introduction of the IGENITY profile, I believe that the number is set to increase - dramatically.”

The range of traits analysed by IGENITY make it the most comprehensive DNA profile tool available to dairy farmers. The IGENITY profile will provide breeders with the genetic information to help select bulls, as well as heifers of high and low genetic merit at a very young age. “And not only will this save on rearing costs but, more importantly, it will also avoid longer term genetic under performance in the herd,” says Mr Trewhella

In addition to analyses for more than a dozen economically important traits, breeders will also be able to profile bulls for horned polled status. Carriers of this genetic benefit may be of increased commercial interest in the future.

“An added bonus is that breeders may find a particularly promising sire from their profile results. Such information can strengthen the breeders’ negotiating position when dealing with AI companies, or provide the basis for retaining ownership and marketing semen,” adds Mr Trewhella.

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