Standardization on the Hoof: Pedigrees, Genetic Disease, and Genomic-Enhanced EPDs
Scout Calvert (Wayne State University)
April 13, 2011
Engineering 2 599, 4:30-6:30
The SJWG is very pleased to welcome back Scout Calvert, who was one of our original members and earned her PhD from History of Consciousness.
Abstract: For decades, beef breed associations have been gathering performance data on registered animals that have become the basis for “expected progeny differences,” calculations made by comparing the cattle in electronic pedigrees, or herdbooks. The American Angus Association began digitizing its herdbook in the 1960s. In 1978, it launched the Certified Angus Beef branding program, a marketing promotion that has successfully made the Angus breed co-extensive with succulent beef through a voluntary certification process, and which enables small but important premiums for beef growers. As EPDs became popular tools for the selection of artificial insemination sires, three genetic diseases reached frequencies of 10% or more in the pure-bred population. EPDs coordinated a shared quest for Angus certification that also resulted in a catastrophic narrowing of the Angus gene pool. Still reeling from the identification of these three diseases since 2008, in 2010, the Angus Association introduced Genomic-Enhanced EPDs. These pedigrees now include data from genetic markers for desirable phenotype characteristics, an innovation with ramifications for animal breeders and human genealogists alike.