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16AGRITECHCAT5: Carcass trait phenotype feedback for genomic selection in sheep


The main beneficiaries of the project are: 1) Consumers, 2) Society, 2) Farmers and the rural community, 3) Meat processor ABP (and if adopted by wider sheep meat processors, other commercial abattoirs), 4) The tecel Sheep Socirty and it's farmer members, and 5) The academic community Consumers will benefit as this project puts in place new technology and know-how to improve sheep meat quality that will lead to proportionally less fat and higher lean meat yield. The benefits extend to improving the safety of meat because the utilisation of individul animal identification (EID) linked to individual carass condemnation data and again linked through to the animal selection decisions will have a powerful impact on animal mangement and biosecurity. Society will benefit through the reduction of risk in carcass contamination, reduction of wastage and contamination from the processing of animals with a higher saleable meat yield. Farmers benefit as clearer market signals from VIA-predicted carcass assessments drive selection decisions that are linked more closely to the needs of the supply chain. Having higher heritabilities for VIA-assessed carcacss traits will lead to higher rates of genetic gain achievable. More profitable farmers impacts on the fragile rural communities that depend on them, which is critical to sustaining the rural economy and for protecting the environment. ABP benefits through having more market-orientated specifications for meat and being able to identify superior animals for which premiums paid adequately reflect carcacss value. Benefits also accrue because carcasses are consistently assessed using objective (and indisputable) technology. The TSS benefits from having access to IP which they can exploit (by providing genomic breeding values, GEBVs) for Texel sheep having no pedigree or performance records. This is done by using the SNP 'key', the suite of algorithms that link genotype to phenotype for the novel traits. This income stream can be used to support the future direction of using genomics in the Texel breed to ensure that the reference population (genotyped cohort) is up to date and suffieciently large enough for robust GEBV prediction. Academics benefit by having access to new, unprecedented data for the generation of scientific papers and other impact material. All parties benefit through their interaction with one another to better foster collaborations and understanding of their disparate 

Conington, Joanne
Scotland's Rural College (SRUC)
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