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Copyright © 2015
Angus Journal

What Does the Future Look Like?

FORT COLLINS, COLO. (Dec. 3, 2008) — According to geneticist Ronnie Green, with Pfizer Animal Genetics, the impact of emerging DNA technology will startle many within the beef cattle industry. Green made closing remarks at the Robert E. Taylor Memorial Symposium in Fort Collins, saying the industry stands at the front end of the most significant era of transition in genetic selection.

Borrowing technology from human genome mapping research, animal geneticists have sequenced the bovine genome, publishing the first draft in 2007. Now, Green said, DNA markers for 50,000 genotypes have been identified. He predicted rapid advancement of the technology during the next 18 months.

Ronnie Green of Pfizer Animal Genetics warned producers to be wary of new DNA products, making sure they know what percentage of genetic variation a test accounts for and that it is validated by a third party before they buy in.

“In a short time, we’ll be talking about 500,000 and then a million markers. And we’ll apply markers to predict the genetic value of animals for more and different traits, including critically important feed efficiency, postweaning gain, and disease resistance,” Green said. “I firmly believe we’re on the verge of an animal genetics renaissance, and it’s coming quickly.”

Green told the audience to expect a new wave of DNA-testing products involving panels of markers, and new numerical predictions for genetic improvement, similar to expected progeny differences (EPDs). He called for a collaborative effort to educate the various segments of the industry regarding this new technology.

Green warned producers to seek knowledge and be wary as companies introduce new products. He advised them to make certain new DNA tests have been validated by an independent third party.

“You also need to ask what percentage of genetic variation for a trait is described by any test being considered. Up to now, that information hasn’t been offered. But it is important,” Green said.

— by Troy Smith

Click here for accompanying PowerPoint as a pdf file (2 MB).
Click here to listen to the audio (4.5 MB mp3).

Editor’s Note: This article is available as a news release to redistribute per an agreement between the symposium hosts and Angus Productions Inc. Click here to submit a request for a high-resolution photo of the speaker. For additional information visit the newsroom of

The Robert E. Taylor Memorial Symposium is conducted by Colorado State University every other year to provide current, research-based information for improving profitability in the beef cattle industry. The ARSBC program was developed by the Beef Cattle Reproduction Task Force to improve understanding and application of reproductive technologies, including AI, estrus synchronization and factors affecting male fertility. In 2008, CSU and the Task Force collaborated to provide the Dec. 2-3 symposium in Fort Collins. To listen to this presentation, view the accompanying PowerPoint or view other presentations from the symposium, visit the newsroom at