Genetics

Aussie, US & Canadian industries join forces to launch World Angus Evaluation

Beef Central, 17/10/2023

The Angus seedstock industries in the United States, Canada and Australia have joined forces this month to launch World Angus Evaluation – a globally focussed genetic analysis of Angus cattle.

Working in conjunction with the American and Canadian Angus Associations, Angus Australia last week launched the project, combining data sources (phenotypes, genotypes and pedigree) from the three countries.

The result will be Expected Progeny Differences (EPDs), which are similar to Estimated Breeding Values (EBV), for a specific list of traits on Angus sires.

The WAE is facilitated by Angus Genetics Incorporated (AGI), which is a subsidiary of the American Angus Association.

World Angus Evaluation Search Tool

WAE EPD results are accessible through an online sire benchmarking search tool. This search tool allows users to set EPD thresholds and other search criteria to directly compare sires from all three Angus Associations. Only sires will be listed on this site (i.e. no females or non-parent animals will be included at this time).

Sires will appear in the search facility based on the following criteria:

  • Weaning Weight accuracy of at least 0.45
  • 5 or more weaning weight progeny
  • Have had 2 or more calves included in the herd book in the last 2 years

Following the initial release on October 14, EPDs and sires will be updated in the search tool four times per year.

The sires included on the WAE search tool will update quarterly, but as data from all three countries flow into the WAE routinely, the EPDs on the sires are updated on a weekly basis.

To access the search tool, click here.

Background

In 2018 the World Angus Secretariat (WAS) discussed an initiative to pursue a global Angus evaluation. Following this, the American Angus Association, alongside Angus Genetics Incorporated (AGI), stepped up to explore the idea.

What started as a WAS initiative quickly shifted to a strategic partnership among the world’s three largest Angus Associations.

With this partnership in place, a multiple year research project was employed to understand the feasibility of a World Angus Evaluation. Multiple test evaluations and validation procedures were performed to ensure that phenotypes are compatible across databases, and that environmental differences such as age and contemporary groups are properly modelled.

An important step in the feasibility stage was to understand the relationship between animals across the three populations. To provide an effective evaluation, the populations must have overlap or links with each other through pedigree and genomic relationships.

Figure 1. Represents the overlap in genotyped animals in the World Angus Evaluation (black = USA, green = AUS, blue = CAN, and purple = NZ animals registered in the Angus Australia herd book)

The chart above represents the overlap in the populations based on the genotype of animals. It shows a large cluster of dots that represent individual animals from all three countries, which shows how closely the individual populations overlap.

Individual colours, or countries are not clustered together by themselves, which supports that even though these animals have been in different herd books, and countries, the relationships among these animals are strong.

This means the data being shared is valuable to inform genetic predictions of animals in differing countries.

The first major implementation step in describing global Angus genetics was released in 2019, when the three associations released a joint evaluation for both foot angle and claw set EPDs (or EBVs). This global collaboration was expanded with 11 additional traits this month.

Importantly, participating in the WAE ensure Angus Australia is meeting a strategic objective to enable the genetic benchmarking of Australian and New Zealand animals, that are registered with Angus Australia, with other major Angus populations around the world.

 

 

HAVE YOUR SAY

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Your comment will not appear until it has been moderated.
Contributions that contravene our Comments Policy will not be published.

Comments

Get Beef Central's news headlines emailed to you -
FREE!