Exploiting the Future Animal Breeding Technologies

The genetic improvement of dairy animals can be further improved with the identification, standardization and adoption of

In the existing evaluation program all daughters of each bull often do not complete the first lactation 305-day milk yield and the variation in lactation length of daughters and persistency is not given weightage for genetic evaluation of male and female animals. The weightage is also not taken into account for estimating the Daily Breeding Values (DBVs) / Test Day Breeding Values (TDBVs) of animals as genetic evaluation programme has not adopted Test Day information.

The NDRI has standardized the genetic evaluation of breeding bulls and cows based on single as well as multi-trait Random Regression Test Day technique as the technique has the following advantages:

  • More accurate adjustment of environmental influence on performance traits including milk yield and reduced the generation interval.
  • Precisely able to identify better dairy animals by predicting DBVs / TDBVs.
  • Estimate more heritability of the trait as a result more genetic response.
  • Includes more daughters / sire which improves the accuracy of genetic evaluation of dairy bulls.
  • Easy to compute and sustain the accuracy of genetic evaluation of dairy animals.
  • Able to estimate the breeding value for genetic persistency of dairy cows which can be taken as a criterion for the evaluation of dairy bulls in the breeding programme.
  • Adopted in most of the countries for genetic evaluation of dairy animals under organized herds and field condition.
  • Cost of performance recording under Random Regression Test Day technique is minimum. The evaluation  need a few records, which may be suitable in our situation.

2. Alternative Breeding Systems

The genetic improvement under alternative breeding systems has been extensively studied. The alternative available breeding systems includes Progeny Testing with MOET schemes (Juvenile MOET scheme and Adult MOET scheme), Inter Country Bull Evaluation and Open Nucleus Breeding System (ONBS ).

Among the three systems the Open Nucleus Breeding System is most suitable in our condition as the system can be adoptable in terms of implementation and demands comparatively very less expenditure than the other systems. ONBS is an alternative breeding system where the gene flow in both ways from nucleus herd to lower/ farmers’ herds and lower / farmers’ herds to nucleus herd.

If ONBS is developed on cooperative basis in that case it is also called Cooperative Breeding System. The major advantages of ONBS are the scope of introduction of superior germplasm from farmers’ herds to institute / nucleus herd, may reduce the rate of inbreeding, increase the selection differential, reduce the generation interval, bulls can be evaluated earlier for further use and additional increase the expected genetic progress about 0.60 to 0.75 %.

In Progeny Testing with MOET schemes ( Juvenile MOET scheme and Adult MOET scheme ) the reproductive rate of cows, the selection differential of cows to bred cows is increased and reduce the general interval for bulls and  thereby increase the rate of genetic improvement. The progress under MOET is depend upon the number of progeny used in transfers and the method of selection. The Inter Country Bull Evaluation involves the use of a group of selected bulls in different countries and therefore increase the accuracy of bull testing by providing many progenies per bull under test and also the bulls used to be declared proven based on their daughters performance in different environments. The investment in the above two systems may not be able to compensate the additional genetic gain obtained through those systems in our condition.

3. Frontline animal breeding technologies

            With the advent of technologies like use of sexed semen, transgenic and cloned animals and marker assisted selection and introgression there was a serious urge to initiate the breeding programme based on the frontline animal breeding technologies in different parts of the world. However, the country like ours has still not been able to accept, either the adoption of those technologies because of massive expenditure involves in breeding programme or, some of the technologies like marker assisted selection and introgression that are still under refinement stage of standardization in terms of identification of desired genes, establish the desired marker(s) through daughter and grand-daughter model for genetic improvement of our dairy cattle and buffaloes.