RP1: Genomic Predictions

Pillar 1: Genomic Predictions

The contribution of animal breeding to improving animal performance is well documented across a range of species. Once genetic variation in a trait exists, then breeding to improve the trait is possible. Considerable genetic variation exists in a range of meat quality and yield attributes across a range of species. The genetic variation that exists for both meat quality and yield is as large as observed for most performance traits; thus, within a well-structured breeding program, rapid genetic gain for both attributes could be possible. The rate of genetic gain can be augmented through the integration of DNA-based technologies into the breeding program. Genetic and genomic technologies can also have beneficial impact outside the farm gate as a tool to segregate carcasses or meat cuts based on expected features.

The goal of Pillar 1 is to generate the most accurate national genetic evaluations globally for meat quality and detailed meat cut yields. This will be achieved through the application and deployment of sophisticated statistical approaches combining phenotypic and genomic data in the pursuit of accurate differentiation between genetically elite and inferior individuals. Genetic gain for these yield and quality attributes will be achieved within a balanced breeding goal thus ensuring sustainable genetic gain within the framework of biological, environmental and economic efficiency.

Pillar 1 Programme Lead

Prof. Donagh Berry

Prof. Donagh Berry is a principal investigator in quantitative genetics at Teagasc, Moorepark and holds professor appointments in University College Cork, Ireland as well as SRUC, UK. Following his bachelor degree in Agricultural Science at University College Dublin in 2000, he undertook a PhD in dairy cattle genetics in collaboration with Wageningen University, the Netherlands. He later completed a part-time MSc in Bioinformatics and Systems Biology at University College Cork, Ireland. He is responsible for the research on genetics in dairy cattle in Ireland and the development and implementation of national genomic evaluations in dairy cattle, beef cattle and sheep in Ireland. His main interests are in the derivation of breeding goals, genetic and genomic evaluations, decision support tools and breeding programs.