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David Sparks Ph.D. Genomics in Cattle
by David Sparks Ph.D., click here for bio

Program: Idaho Ag Today
Date: October 05, 2017

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I have to confess that I love to watch a good crime show. Who would’ve thunk it 20 years ago but it appears that the solution to every crime that has been committed is to take DNA samples from a crime scene. But that’s crime and why the world am I rambling about that during a story that is supposed to be about agriculture. It’s just a cheesy segue to get your attention pointed at something important and that is genomics in the cattle business. More of today’s cattlemen are seeing the value of genomic data and the merits of the technology in both management and genetic improvement. That’s according to the American Angus Association - which reports an increasing number of its 25,000-plus members are submitting DNA samples from their herds to test for parentage, genetic conditions and genetic merit. Tonya Amen of Angus Genetics Incorporated gives us brilliant reasons for this trend: “We have seen a really large increase in the number of parentage tests being done. A lot of breeders run multi-sire pastures. The management and selection decisions that can be made by knowing which bull sired which of the calves, whether it be which replacement heifers you are going to keep, how you are going to breed them or even just simple things like figuring out which bulls are getting the job done and firing the most calves, important management decisions that can be made there.” Angus Genetics Incorporated can process about 2,000 DNA samples per day.

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