San Diego-based Illumina Inc. reported Tuesday that it’s teaming up with cattlemen in Ireland to improve the breeding of livestock.
The Irish Cattle Breeding Federation, a nonprofit charged with providing cattle breeding information services to the Irish dairy and beef industries, chose Illumina as its technology partner for their Beef Data and Genomics Program. The program, which will run until 2020, is designed to improve the genetics of the national herd by identifying DNA variants.
Ranchers traditionally eyeball the members of their herd for desirable traits, but Illumina said the genomics program will provide them with faster and more accurate data. The company will provide the equipment and technology needed for the program.
“The ultimate goal is to reach a point where every animal born will be genotyped,” said Iain MacLaren-Lee, the company’s market development manager for agrigenomics.
“In Ireland that would be two million animals per year,” MacLaren-Lee said. “It’s the ambition of ICBF and the Irish Department of Agriculture to be the first country in the world to genotype the entire national herd.”
He said the program could lead to the routine adoption of genotyping in cattle farming.
According to MacLaren-Lee, most previous genetic sampling projects have involved tens of thousands of animals, with a few going over a couple of hundred thousand.
Participating farmers will be required to genotype 15 percent of their cows by submitting samples to the ICBF. The organization hopes to record one million animals within two years.
—City News Service
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