Advantages Of Markerassisted Selection

Traditional methods of selection can produce very accurate evaluations of genetic merit for traits that are high in heritability (observed or measured value is a good predictor of breeding value) or for individuals that have many progeny with phenotypes recorded. However, many traits of economic importance in livestock are low or moderate (10 40%) in heritability or can only be measured postmortem, in which case, accurate genetic evaluations are only possible through progeny testing. Other important traits can only be measured late in the productive life of the individual. For these traits, accurate genetic evaluations can only be obtained after the selection decision (to produce progeny) has been made. These are the traits for which MAS is expected to accelerate the rate of genetic improvement1-1'2-1 because the DNA testing component of MAS can be obtained and combined with marker-adjusted estimates of the parents' breeding values anytime after birth. In theory, it is possible to apply DNA testing to a few cells of an embryo and use MAS to determine whether to transfer the embryo and even to shorten the generation interval by combining MAS with germ-line manipulation.1-3-1

DNA tests can increase the amount of information provided by each phenotype collected, and thus, reduce the number of phenotypes required, but they do not eliminate the need for phenotypes. Marker-assisted selection has the potential to reduce the impact of antagonistic genetic correlations by concentrating selection intensity on those genes that affect one set of traits without undesirable effects on other traits.[1]

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