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Review article2015Peer reviewedOpen access

Genomic selection needs to be carefully assessed to meet specific requirements in livestock breeding programs

Jonas, Elisabeth; de Koning, Dirk-Jan


Genomic selection is a promising development in agriculture, aiming improved production by exploiting molecular genetic markers to design novel breeding programs and to develop new markers-based models for genetic evaluation. It opens opportunities for research, as novel algorithms and lab methodologies are developed. Genomic selection can be applied in many breeds and species. Further research on the implementation of genomic selection (GS) in breeding programs is highly desirable not only for the common good, but also the private sector (breeding companies). It has been projected that this approach will improve selection routines, especially in species with long reproduction cycles, late or sex-limited or expensive trait recording and for complex traits. The task of integrating GS into existing breeding programs is, however, not straightforward. Despite successful integration into breeding programs for dairy cattle, it has yet to be shown how much emphasis can be given to the genomic information and how much additional phenotypic information is needed from new selection candidates. Genomic selection is already part of future planning in many breeding companies of pigs and beef cattle among others, but further research is needed to fully estimate how effective the use of genomic information will be for the prediction of the performance of future breeding stock. Genomic prediction of production in crossbreeding and across-breed schemes, costs and choice of individuals for genotyping are reasons for a reluctance to fully rely on genomic information for selection decisions. Breeding objectives are highly dependent on the industry and the additional gain when using genomic information has to be considered carefully. This review synthesizes some of the suggested approaches in selected livestock species including cattle, pig, chicken, and fish. It outlines tasks to help understanding possible consequences when applying genomic information in breeding scenarios.


breeding; estimated breeding value; marker-assisted selection; generation interval; modeling; non-additive effects

Published in

Frontiers in Genetics
2015, Volume: 6, article number: 49
Publisher: Frontiers Research Foundation / Frontiers Media