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Trends Genet. 2013 Apr;29(4):206-14. doi: 10.1016/j.tig.2012.11.009. Epub 2012 Dec 19.

The future of livestock breeding: genomic selection for efficiency, reduced emissions intensity, and adaptation.

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Biosciences Research Division, Department of Primary Industries, Bundoora, VIC 3083, Australia.


As the global population and global wealth both continue to increase, so will the demand for livestock products, especially those that are highly nutritious. However, competition with other uses for land and water resources will also intensify, necessitating more efficient livestock production. In addition, as climate change escalates, reduced methane emissions from cattle and sheep will be a critical goal. Application of new technologies, including genomic selection and advanced reproductive technologies, will play an important role in meeting these challenges. Genomic selection, which enables prediction of the genetic merit of animals from genome-wide SNP markers, has already been adopted by dairy industries worldwide and is expected to double genetic gains for milk production and other traits. Here, we review these gains. We also discuss how the use of whole-genome sequence data should both accelerate the rate of gain and enable rapid discovery and elimination of genetic defects from livestock populations.

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