Application of molecular information in sustainable animal breeding
Revista Brasileira de Zootecnia
Livestock genomics is aimed at dissecting the genetic control of variation in economically important trait, such as disease resistance and product yield/quality. Unraveling the genetic control of such complex traits remains very challenging but farm animals are now well placed to bridge the gap between human biology and traditional model species. Livestock species share with model species the benefits of controlled breeding, while their biology is often much closer to that of humans. Livestock
... humans. Livestock genetics can exploit the abundant genetic variation between divergent breeds as well as segregating variation within breeds, thus getting the best of both worlds. Large numbers of QTL have been detected for a variety of traits but for only a handful has the functional DNA mutation been discovered. The main challenge is how to exploit this information for sustainable animal breeding. The proposed applications for Marker Assisted Selection (MAS) vary from selecting on individual known mutations to using genome-wide SNP data for genome-wide selection. Molecular markers are also important tools to assess genetic variation within and between populations. Sustainable animal breeding should meet the needs of the current generation without compromising the needs of future generations. This contribution will discuss the status of molecular genetics in livestock and how this could support sustainable animal breeding.