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J Dairy Sci. 2011 May;94(5):2625-30. doi: 10.3168/jds.2010-3719.

Short communication: Genomic selection using a multi-breed, across-country reference population.

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Biosciences Research Division, Department of Primary Industries Victoria, 1 Park Drive, Bundoora 3083, Australia.


Three breeds (Fleckvieh, Holstein, and Jersey) were included in a reference population, separately and together, to assess the accuracy of prediction of genomic breeding values in single-breed validation populations. The accuracy of genomic selection was defined as the correlation between estimated breeding values, calculated using phenotypic data, and genomic breeding values. The Holstein and Jersey populations were from Australia, whereas the Fleckvieh population (dual-purpose Simmental) was from Austria and Germany. Both a BLUP with a multi-breed genomic relationship matrix (GBLUP) and a Bayesian method (BayesA) were used to derive the prediction equations. The hypothesis tested was that having a multi-breed reference population increased the accuracy of genomic selection. Minimal advantage existed of either GBLUP or BayesA multi-breed genomic evaluations over single-breed evaluations. However, when the goal was to predict genomic breeding values for a breed with no individuals in the reference population, using 2 other breeds in the reference was generally better than only 1 breed.

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