Texels embrace DNA technology
Texel breeders are to become the first sheep breeders in the UK to wholeheartedly embrace the use of DNA technology to both protect the brand identity of the breed and shape future breed improvement strategies.
Working in partnership with Neogen Europe, the leading DNA testing provider, the British Texel Sheep Society will be using a novel SNP panel to test and provide both parentage verification. An important approach to enable exploitation of genomic information and assist breed development explains Society chief executive John Yates.
"This Society initiative, Gene-Tex, is a UK first in this volume across many of the 2000 Texel breeders who will be among some of the first in the world to use this novel SNP panel. While initially the aim is to protect the breed and brand identity by parentage verification, the future aim will be to develop genomic selection criteria to enable Texel breeders to use all the tools at their disposal to breed sheep suited to the modern commercial market."The collaboration with Neogen will allow wide scale use of DNA and access to genomic technologies in years to come, as this technology becomes more affordable. This technology will have a direct impact on the Society's breed development strategies, and assist the Society in using new breeding tools to exploit the extensive and expanding knowledge we have of our breed."
Initial work on developing a parentage database, the British Texel Sheep Society will use a specific ~100SNP panel on Texel DNA provided by UK breeders. Adding new tests to the panel in the near future, ultimately the Breed will be driving towards Genomic Breeding Values (GEBVs) that will offer greater accuracy for existing traits and, more importantly allow for selection using traits with lower heritability, such as specific health traits and meat eating quality," says Mr Yates.
And in another UK sheep industry first DNA samples for use in Gene-Tex will be collected using an innovative nasal sampling device. Allowing an affordable and simple non invasive means to protect the breed at the same time as complementing the extensive collection of phenotypes, provided through the continued expansion of data collection from the entire membership and from performance recorded flocks he adds.
"Gene-Tex will, therefore, see the adoption of three unique pieces of technology to further advance the Texel breed and ensure it can maintain its place as the UK's number one terminal sire breed and the breed of choice for forward thinking sheep farmers."
Compulsory DNA profiling of all ET Donors (any age) and all sires used in ET programmes (born from 2013)
> To be revised
NEOGEN Terms & Conditions
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> To be revised