Economic evaluation of genomic selection in small ruminants: a sheep meat breeding program.

TitleEconomic evaluation of genomic selection in small ruminants: a sheep meat breeding program.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsShumbusho, F, Raoul, J, Astruc, JM, Palhiere, I, Lemarié, S, Fugeray-Scarbel, A, Elsen, JM
Date Published2016 Jun

Recent genomic evaluation studies using real data and predicting genetic gain by modeling breeding programs have reported moderate expected benefits from the replacement of classic selection schemes by genomic selection (GS) in small ruminants. The objectives of this study were to compare the cost, monetary genetic gain and economic efficiency of classic selection and GS schemes in the meat sheep industry. Deterministic methods were used to model selection based on multi-trait indices from a sheep meat breeding program. Decisional variables related to male selection candidates and progeny testing were optimized to maximize the annual monetary genetic gain (AMGG), that is, a weighted sum of meat and maternal traits annual genetic gains. For GS, a reference population of 2000 individuals was assumed and genomic information was available for evaluation of male candidates only. In the classic selection scheme, males breeding values were estimated from own and offspring phenotypes. In GS, different scenarios were considered, differing by the information used to select males (genomic only, genomic+own performance, genomic+offspring phenotypes). The results showed that all GS scenarios were associated with higher total variable costs than classic selection (if the cost of genotyping was 123 euros/animal). In terms of AMGG and economic returns, GS scenarios were found to be superior to classic selection only if genomic information was combined with their own meat phenotypes (GS-Pheno) or with their progeny test information. The predicted economic efficiency, defined as returns (proportional to number of expressions of AMGG in the nucleus and commercial flocks) minus total variable costs, showed that the best GS scenario (GS-Pheno) was up to 15% more efficient than classic selection. For all selection scenarios, optimization increased the overall AMGG, returns and economic efficiency. As a conclusion, our study shows that some forms of GS strategies are more advantageous than classic selection, provided that GS is already initiated (i.e. the initial reference population is available). Optimizing decisional variables of the classic selection scheme could be of greater benefit than including genomic information in optimized designs.

Alternate JournalAnimal
PubMed ID26446712