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Inbreeding trends and application of optimised selection in the UK Holstein population

  • J. F. Kearney (a1), E. Wall (a1) and B. Villanueva (a1)


Widespread international use of AI and best linear unbiased prediction (BLUP) breeding values for milk yield has increased genetic gain in many dairy populations, including the UK. The proliferation of few sires through AI and the coselection of relatives favoured by BLUP has however increased the relatedness and inbreeding of the UK population. Inbreeding is undesirable for a number of reasons and it is important to monitor the rate at which it accumulates. Currently, the level and rates of inbreeding (∆F) are not routinely reported for UK dairy cattle. Optimised selection procedures that maximise genetic gain while constraining ∆F to a pre-defined level have been shown to control ∆F and increase genetic gain over truncation selection at the same ∆F (e.g. Avendaño et al. 2003). The objective of this study was to determine the current rates of inbreeding and to assess the potential of using optimised selection procedures in the UK dairy population.


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Avendaño, S. A, Villanueva, B. and Woolliams, J. A. 2003. Expected increases in genetic merit from using optimised contributions in two livestock populations of beef cattle and sheep. J. Anim. Sci. in press
Grundy, B., Villanueva, B., and Woolliams, J. A. 1998. Dynamic selection procedures for constrained inbreeding and their consequences for pedigree development. Genet. Res. Camb. 72:159168
Meuwissen, T.H.E, and Luo, Z. 1992. Computing inbreeding coefficients in large populations. Genet. Sel. Evol. 24:305313.


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