Today, breeders looking into the possibility of bovine cloning have more information at an earlier age about the relative genetic merits of their animals. Genomic prediction is a dairy industry tool that links an animal’s DNA information to its relatives’ performance information in order to more accurately predict the animal’s genetic merit at a very young age. A dairy cow begins producing milk at about two years of age. Prior to the development of genomic predictions, a dairy cow had to be two to three years old before her genetic merit was known. Similarly, a dairy bull had to have daughters that had reached milk production age in order to estimate his genetic merit (the milk production capability of his daughters). This meant that the bull was 4 to 5 years old before his genetic merit was accurately known. Today, a dairy calf can have a genetic merit genomic prediction before it is two months old. This genomic prediction is determined using a small about of DNA from the calf, and a 50 SNP* chip panel which is developed by the Council of Dairy Cattle Breeding. Because of this information, dairy animals are identified as elite breeding stock at a very young age and with a high degree of accuracy. Economically important traits, like milk production, are evaluated. Those animals that have the highest ranking for genetic merit can produce many offspring in a year through the use of advanced reproductive technologies like embryo transfer and in vitro fertilization.
Why Would a Breeder Clone High Genomic Animals?
Livestock cloning technology allows animal breeders to produce multiple genetic twins to a high genetic merit animal. Because the clones are identical twins to the high genetic merit animal, they will have the same genomic value and genetic merit. By producing genetic twins to a very high genomic outlier, a farmer can multiply the number of offspring that can be produced from a high ranking animal so that his/her influence is even greater in his herd, his breed and to his bottom line. High genomic animals and their offspring can have significantly higher values. An extremely high genomic animal is worth well over $100,000. A calf with a GTPI (genomic total performance index) of 2700 is considered very high today.
How Do I Participate in Animal Genetic Preservation and Cloning?
Simply contact us to begin the process with a genetic preservation or cell line. The next step will be to enter into a cloning agreement that will produce genetic twins to the genetic donor, that will also have the same high genomic value and genetic merit. For more information, please view the cloning section of our site which provides valuable information. We encourage you to “like” us on Facebook and Twitter for regular updates on the latest developments and the cloning resource for your herd.