Q. Currently several companies are marketing DNA tests for use in selection. What questions do you have regarding these tools; and who do you think should provide the answers to these questions?
“Validation” is a term frequently used in association with DNA selection tools. Validation is the independent confirmation or rejection of a DNA test. Validation attempts to answer the question: “Does the test work as claimed?” In most applications this means that the scientists conducting the validation studies have no vested interest in the DNA test under consideration and that the animal populations used are different from the populations used to develop the test. The animal populations needed to conduct validation studies for an ever-increasing number of DNA tests will require tremendous capital investment.
Q. How important do you think validation is to the use of DNA selection tools?
Q. Do you think public research institutions should have an ongoing role in validating new DNA tests?
For traits which have EPD available, the genetic information provided by DNA tests is NOT independent of the information provided by EPD. The information overlaps, but we do not know by how much. In the near future, we anticipate that statistical methods will be available to combine DNA test information with pedigree and phenotypic information in the computation of EPD and their associated accuracies.
Q. How important do you think having a single measure of genetic merit based on all sources of information (i.e., EPD based on DNA, pedigree, and phenotypic information) will be to the genetic improvement of US beef cattle?
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