This project is a move by the ICBF to explore ways of maximising the efficiency and cost of cattle breeding in Ireland.
Genotyping cattle involves the use of microarray technology – commonly known as a DNA chip – to track 55,000 variable positions in the genetic make-up of each individual cow.
Through this process, scientists will be able to accurately record the structure of cells, helping them determine heredity characteristics such as fertility, milk yield and meat quality in individual cows.
‘Huge step forward’
Ronan Murphy, CEO of Weatherbys in Ireland, discussed the unprecedented move in cattle DNA sampling and said: “This project is a huge step forward in agri-genomics and we are delighted to have been selected to carry out a testing regime that has never been done on this scale before. The microarray chip we will be using has taken two years of development by Weatherbys Ireland DNA laboratory, the ICBF and Teagasc (The Irish Agriculture & Food Development authority).
“By teaming up with Eurofins Genomics, we are able to provide expertise and accredited laboratories at the scale needed to provide customers with new and more efficient services for their animal breeding needs.”
The senior vice president of Eurofins Genomic, Bruno Poddevin, added the company is “proud and delighted to have been selected” by the ICBF and believes the partnership with Weatherbys will provide “expertise in the world’s largest cattle genotyping project-to-date.”
He said: “Through our combined industrial capabilities and highly-skilled DNA experts, Eurofins aims to provide customers in the food and agri-genomics markets the highest quality and most cost-efficient solutions for their animal-breeding needs. We are excited to provide our unparalleled capabilities and lend our expertise in [this] large-scale project, and help put Ireland and its farmers at the forefront of genetic testing globally.”
The genotyping project is part of a wider five-year initiative known as the Beef Data Genomics Program (BDGP), launched in 2015 by Simon Coveney, Ireland’s minister for agriculture food and marine.