Reproductive technologies combine well with genomic selection in dairy breeding programs

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The objective of the present study was to examine whether genomic selection of females interacts with the use of reproductive technologies (RT) to increase annual monetary genetic gain (AMGG). This was tested using a factorial design with 3 factors: genomic selection of females (0 or 2,000 genotyped heifers per year), RT (0 or 50 donors selected at 14mo of age for producing 10 offspring), and 2 reliabilities of genomic prediction. In addition, different strategies for use of RT and how strategies interact with the reliability of genomic prediction were investigated using stochastic simulation by varying (1) number of donors (25, 50, 100, 200), (2) number of calves born per donor (10 or 20), (3) age of donor (2 or 14mo), and (4) number of sires (25, 50, 100, 200). In total, 72 different breeding schemes were investigated. The profitability of the different breeding strategies was evaluated by deterministic simulation by varying the costs of a born calf with reproductive technologies at levels of €500, €1,000, and €1,500. The results confirm our hypothesis that combining genomic selection of females with use of RT increases AMGG more than in a reference scheme without genomic selection in females. When the reliability of genomic prediction is high, the effect on rate of inbreeding (ΔF) is small. The study also demonstrates favorable interaction effects between the components of the breeder's equation (selection intensity, selection accuracy, generation interval) for the bull dam donor path, leading to higher AMGG. Increasing the donor program and number of born calves to achieve higher AMGG is associated with the undesirable effect of increased ΔF. This can be alleviated, however, by increasing the numbers of sires without compromising AMGG remarkably. For the major part of the investigated donor schemes, the investment in RT is profitable in dairy cattle populations, even at high levels of costs for RT.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Pages (from-to)1331-40
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2016

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