Exploring the value of genomic predictions to simultaneously improve production potential and resilience of farmed animals

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Sustainable livestock production requires that animals have a high production potential but are also highly resilient to environmental challenges. The first step to simultaneously improve these traits through genetic selection is to accurately predict their genetic merit. In this paper, we used simulations of sheep populations to assess the effect of genomic data, different genetic evaluation models and phenotyping strategies on prediction accuracies and bias for production potential and resilience. In addition, we also assessed the effect of different selection strategies on the improvement of these traits. Results show that estimation of both traits greatly benefits from taking repeated measurements and from using genomic information. However, the prediction accuracy for production potential is compromised, and resilience estimates tends to be upwards biased, when families are clustered in groups even when genomic information is used. The prediction accuracy was also found to be lower for both traits, resilience and production potential, when the environment challenge levels are unknown. Nevertheless, we observe that genetic gain in both traits can be achieved even in the case of unknown environmental challenge, when families are distributed across a large range of environments. Simultaneous genetic improvement in both traits however greatly benefits from the use of genomic evaluation, reaction norm models and phenotyping in a wide range of environments. Using models without the reaction norm in scenarios where there is a trade-off between resilience and production potential, and phenotypes are collected from a narrow range of environments may result in a loss for one trait. The study demonstrates that genomic selection coupled with reaction-norm models offers great opportunities to simultaneously improve productivity and resilience of farmed animals even in the case of a trade-off.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1127530
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalFrontiers in Genetics
Early online date12 May 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 12 May 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • resilience
  • robustness
  • reaction norm
  • genomic prediction
  • genomic selection
  • GxE
  • trade-of


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