Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Friday 22 September 2017

Skimping on genomics is a ‘false economy’

Limousin bull
Limousin bull

Martin Ryan

Failing to carry out genomic testing on pedigree animals being offered for sale could prove a costly false economy.

That was the message from livestock breeder and veterinary surgeon Dr Doreen Corridon — of the Roundhill ­Limousin Herd and Munster AI — at a recent Charolais breeders meeting in Newmarket-on-Fergus, Co Clare.

The €22/hd cost of having the genetics checked is money well spent, she said.

“For selling animals, breeders should have them genomically tested to make sure that the pedigree is what it is said to be.

“If you sell an animal with a pedigree you believe it is, and they go into a herd which is subsequently genomically ­tested — and it turns out that the ­pedigree is not what you thought it was, the purchaser can have a claim that you sold him/her an animal that was not what it was said to be,” she added.

“It is not too bad if it is discovered immediately, but if a lot of animals bred off it have been sold to other pedigree breeders, you can see where the chain of events is leading.”

She advised that for verification of the pedigree alone, getting animals genomically tested is certainly worthwhile and something that all pedigree breeders should now take very seriously.

She said that genomic testing is much more accurate than DNA testing, which had been previously carried out on ­animals.

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While genomic testing is still in its infancy in this country — although now available to all breeders at a modest cost, she has no doubt that is far more accurate than the old system to verify the pedigree, and as it further develops, will not only be verifying the sire, but the sire of the dam.

“Genomic testing costs €22 and I would say certainly for pedigree breeders from now on, they should have all animals being offered for sale genomically tested, because it is worthwhile and could avoid consequences for the breeder later on” she maintained.

Jerry O’Keeffe, of the Grangewood Charolais Herd and regional chairman of Irish Charolais Society, suggested that breeders should take the advice given very seriously.

“If anything happens down the road on the back breeding, the original breeder could get caught — because if you are selling animals and state their pedigree, it is possible that it may not be accurate at all, and you are responsible.”


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