Euribrid announces the first large-scale commercial use of "Genomic Selection" technology in poultry. This is also the first time such a large set of DNA markers has been used in commercial animal breeding. The animals for this application were born on November 22, 2006. Although the basics of this technology are available, large-scale use of this application is still rare.
Genomic Selection is a process that allows researchers to check essential traits of an animal even before it is born. The process uses genetic markers to test for all relevant traits including the ones that are currently very difficult to measure such as resistance to disease, meat quality and the like. Genomic Selection provides an accurate assessment of breeding values of animals without having to measure traits.
Furthermore, the information is available not just for a single gene or trait, but also for all the genes and all traits at the same time. "This is a DNA technology in breeding with true breakthrough potential," said Dr. Gerard Albers, manager of Euribrid's Breeding Research Centre, "Through genomic selection, genetic progress can be dramatically increased."
"Genomic Selection could well be the largest breakthrough in breeding since the introduction of BLUP in pig breeding in the early 1990s and the introduction of hybridization in chicken and turkey breeding in the 1940s and 1950s," said Albers.
Albers said Euribrid has fully endorsed genomic selection. "We have the required technologies in place to go full speed ahead with genomic selection at Euribrid," he said, "We are ready for high throughput genotyping technolog y with a custom DNA chip containing 20,000 SNP markers and with advanced mathematical-genetic software to handle the tens of millions of data points generated."
The first application of Genomic Selection by Euribrid is in Hybro broilers because of speed of application and generous availability of genome information and SNP genetic markers in the chicken. However, all technologies required for application are generic and can be readily translated to applications in pigs and turkeys as well.
It is the customers of Euribrid's member companies that will reap the rewards of the company's move into genomic selection. Hypor, Hybro and Hybrid Turkeys will see greatly improved breeding value estimation and increased genetic progress in nucleus breeding programs. Hypor customers can look forward to the extension of the BioHypor program into DNA-based breeding values. In general, the use of genomic selection will dramatically increase the precis ion of genetic selection, boost productivity and facilitate tailor made breeding solutions for Euribrid customers.
The Euribrid Breeding Research Centre has developed these technologies in close collaboration with two research teams in the Animal Sciences Group of Wageningen University, The Netherlands. These are proprietary technologies, subject to patent applications.
Euribrid is a global multi-species breeding company headquartered in Boxmeer, the Netherlands and a member of the Nutreco group of companies.