Wagyu Single-Step BREEDPLAN implementation

Australian Wagyu producers are now armed with genomic-based data enabling more robust selection decisions with faster gains and higher accuracy through a shift to a new own-breed genetic analysis model.

The Australian Wagyu Association (AWA) has announced Single-Step Wagyu BREEDPLAN will be published from tomorrow ( April 10, 2018), utilising refined analysis and software improvements drawing solely on Wagyu performance data to deliver the world’s first public Wagyu-specific genomic and pedigree analysis platform.

Single-Step Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) mean Australian and international Wagyu are now benchmarked against the best of their own breed under even more stringent assessment criteria and weightings, AWA CEO, Dr Matt McDonagh explains. In developing the Single-Step EBVs, the AWA has worked collaboratively with staff at the Animal Genetics & Breeding Unit (AGBU) and the Agricultural Business Research Institute (ABRI), with funding support from Meat and Livestock Australia, to implement a new approach for incorporating genomic (50K SNP) information into a Wagyu-specific EBV calculation.

Significant improvements in EBVs that more closely reflect genetic relationships in Wagyu data will be evident. As an example, the AWA CEO, Dr McDonagh reports that for ‘high accuracy’ sires with a previous EBV accuracy of more than 75%, the EBV for Marble Score has decreased in range by approximately 1 EBV Marble Score unit. The previous top Marble Score sire had an MS EBV value of + 3.4. This is now + 2.6, but the same sire remains an industry leader for Marble Score.

The decrease in value range for Marble Score is primarily due to the addition of genomic analysis within Single-Step Wagyu BREEDPLAN which has detected a higher relation between popular sires than was previously estimated by pedigree within standard Wagyu BREEDPLAN.

The impact of the reduced range of Marble Score EBV is a $269 reduction in the range in the related Terminal Carcase Index for high accuracy sires. The sire with the previous top Terminal Carcase Index value of $792 remains the top ranking sire, with a new Index value of $587. The sire with the previous lowest Index value of -$338 is now -$274 in the Terminal Carcase Index.

The Terminal Carcase Index has been well adopted by industry but is not intended for use in breeding replacement livestock. With the implementation of Single-Step Wagyu BREEDPLAN, the AWA will now introduce a parallel Fullblood self-replacing herd index in coming months. This will assist in the selection of breeding stock and accelerate breed development in a variety of related traits.

For high accuracy sires, the range in EBV for Carcase Weight has increased in range by 35 kgs. Previously, the highest Carcase Weight EBV among this group of sires was + 58.1 kg: the highest CWT EBV in this group of sires is now 75.0 kg. This increase in EBV range is largely due to the improved estimate of the heritability of Carcase Weight enabled by the substantially expanded Wagyu-only dataset. The genetic contribution to Carcase Weight is now recognized as significantly higher than previously estimated.

These changes mean that within Single-Step Wagyu BREEDPLAN, the Carcase Weight EBV now has a relatively larger influence on Terminal Carcase Index, with the Marble Score EBV having a lesser influence.

These changes have been applied to the April 2018 Wagyu GROUP BREEDPLAN analysis and will now apply to subsequent monthly analyses. The new Single-Step Wagyu BREEDPLAN model is now based solely on Wagyu data and Wagyu EBVs are directly derived from Wagyu performance data. This means that Single-Step Wagyu BREEDPLAN is a World-first Wagyu specific genomic and pedigree analysis platform.

Important Notice and Disclaimer

It is very important that you appreciate when viewing the AWA database that the information contained on the AWA database, including but not limited to pedigree, DNA information, Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) and Index values, is based on data supplied by members and/or third parties.

Whilst every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the information reported through AWA, AWA officers and employees assume no responsibility for its content, use or interpretation. AWA disclaims all liability (including without limitation, liability in negligence) for all expenses, losses, damages and costs you may incur as a result of the use by you of the data on this AWA database and the information supplied by ABRI and AGBU being inaccurate or incomplete in any way for any reason.

Regarding EBVs and Index values, it is very important to appreciate, and you need to be aware that:

  • EBVs are derived using Wagyu Single Step BREEDPLAN technology developed independently by the Animal Genetics and Breeding Unit (AGBU), using the information contained within the AWA database.
  • AGBU is a joint venture of NSW Department of Primary Industries and the University of New England, which receives funding for this purpose from Meat and Livestock Australia Limited.
  • AWA relies solely on advice provided by AGBU and ABRI in accepting Wagyu Single Step BREEDPLAN software.
  • EBVs published in Wagyu Single Step BREEDPLAN are estimates of genetic potential of individual animals and may not reflect the raw animal phenotype.
  • EBVs can only be directly compared to other EBVs calculated in the same monthly Wagyu Group BREEDPLAN analysis.

Regarding pedigree and DNA testing results submitted to the AWA, it is very important to appreciate, and you need to be aware that:

  • Pedigree and DNA data submitted and supplied to AWA may have errors in it which cannot be detected without further DNA testing.
  • Technology may have advanced since a particular test was undertaken so that previous inaccuracies which were not detectable are now able to be detected by current testing technology.
  • AWA estimates that less than 1% of the pedigree entries, ownership or breeding details in the AWA Herdbook may have errors or which may be misleading. For this reason, users ought to consider if they need to obtain independent testing of the relevant animal (if possible) to ensure that the data is accurate.

Regarding prefectural content, it is very important to appreciate, and you need to be aware that:

  • Prefectural content is based on the estimation of prefectural origin from Japanese breeding records of 201 foundation sires and 168 foundation dams.  As genotype-based parent verification is not used in Japan, and full Japanese registration certificates are not available for all foundation animals, exact prefectural composition for these sires and dams cannot be validated.
  • The calculation of prefectural content for Australian Herdbook animals relies on the accuracy of pedigree records and DNA samples provided by AWA members.
  • The reporting of prefectural content for animals within the AWA Herdbook relies on the calculation provided by ABRI.

If you consider that you do not understand or appreciate the nature and extent of the data provided on this website or the EBVs of a particular animal, then AWA strongly recommends that you seek independent expert advice.