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Implementation in breeding programmes

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  30 July 2013

M. P. Coffey*
Animal Veterinary Sciences Group, Scotlands Rural College, EH25 9RG Edinburgh, UK
S. McParland
Animal & Grassland Research and Innovation Centre, Teagasc, Moorepark, Co. Cork, Ireland
C. Bastin
University of Liège, Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech, Animal Science Unit, Gembloux, Belgium
E. Wall
Animal Veterinary Sciences Group, Scotlands Rural College, EH25 9RG Edinburgh, UK
D. Berry
Animal & Grassland Research and Innovation Centre, Teagasc, Moorepark, Co. Cork, Ireland
R. F. Veerkamp
Animal Breeding and Genomics Centre, Wageningen UR Livestock Research, 8200 AB Lelystad, The Netherlands
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Genetic improvement is easy when selecting for one heritable and well-recorded trait at a time. Many industrialised national dairy herds have overall breeding indices that incorporate a range of traits balanced by their known or estimated economic value. Future breeding goals will contain more non-production traits and, in the context of this paper, traits associated with human health and cow robustness. The definition of Robustness and the traits used to predict it are currently fluid; however, the use of mid-infrared reflectance spectroscopic analysis of milk will help to create new phenotypes on a large scale that can be used to improve the human health characteristics of milk and the robustness of cows producing it. This paper describes the state-of-the-art in breeding strategies that include animal robustness (mainly energy status) and milk quality (as described by milk fatty acid profile), with particular emphasis on the research results generated by the FP7-funded RobustMilk project

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Copyright © The Animal Consortium 2013 

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Implementation in breeding programmes
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