Transforming genomic selection in commercial breeding programmes for pigs, dairy goats and poultry

Impact: Technological

Description of impact

Underpinning Research:

We have developed an end-to-end package of theory, tools, technologies and implementation strategies that has enabled breeding companies locally and globally to deploy genomic selection in their routine breeding programmes.

Significance and Reach of Impact: 
Adoption of our genomic selection toolkit has led to thefollowing benefits in these exemplar sectors:
- For Genus PLC, which provides 25% of the world’s pig genetically improved breeding stock, genomic selection has since October 2013 doubled the accuracy of selection for female reproductive performance traits, resulting in an average annual increase in genetic potential for the number of piglets produced per sow per year from 0.65 in 2013 to 1.4 in 2020. Overall, genomic selection has enabled Genus customers to produce 2,000,000t more pig meat per year, resulting in GBP300,000,000 potential extra profit to producers.
- For Yorkshire Dairy Goats, which supplies 40% of the UK’s goat milk and products, genomic selection (since 2014) has increased use of elite male goats, doubling the rate of genetic improvement and leading to 73% higher yields of milk, reduced costs of production and improved fertility and welfare.
- For Aviagen Ltd, the market leader for the world’s chicken and turkey genetics with more than 50% market share in both species, genomic selection (since 2016) has resulted in increases in the accuracy of selection of approximately 20% for fertility traits and more than 50% for feed intake. Such improvements are associated with significant economic and environmental benefits, including an estimated saving of 673,651t of feed per year across that sector of the global market supplied by Aviagen.

A joint submission with the University of Edinburgh to REF2021.
Impact date20032020
Category of impactTechnological