November 2017

Genomic evaluation has been successfully implemented in the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia, France, the Netherlands, Germany, and the Scandinavian countries. Adoption of this technology in the major dairy producing countries has led to significant changes in the worldwide dairy industry. Gradual elimination of the progeny test system has led to a reduction in the number of sires with daughter records and fewer genetic ties between years. As genotyping costs decrease, the number of cows genotyped will continue to increase, and these records will become the basic data used to compute genomic evaluations, most likely via application of “single-step” methodologies.

Although genomic selection has been successful in increasing rates of genetic gain, we still know very little about the genetic architecture of quantitative variation. Apparently, a very large number of genes affect nearly all economic traits, in accordance with the infinitesimal model for quantitative traits. Less emphasis in selection goals will be placed on milk production traits, and more on health, reproduction, and efficiency traits and on environmentally friendly production with reduced waste and gas emission.

J.I. Weller, E. Ezra, M. Ron DOI