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Marker Assisted Selection Applied to Commercial Sheep - LK0656

Description
This project aims to research and implement the technology required for the integration of genetic markers into commercial sheep breeding programmes, demonstrate the application with already known genetic markers defining Quantitative Trait Loci (QTL) and refine understanding of existing and new QTLs. The project will feature input from the Texel, Suffolk and Charollais sire referencing schemes (SRSs), along with the MLC. This combined programme of research and technology transfer is a necessary requirement to help UK sheep industries meet challenges of the 21st century, particularly to be in a position to exploit relevant genetic marker technology as it becomes available.

The specific objectives of the project are: (1) to determine optimal procedures and develop infrastructure for the use of combined QTL and performance data in commercial sheep breeding programmes, i.e. MAS, (2) to demonstrate the implementation of one known QTL into MAS programmes in the Suffolk, Texel and Charollais SRSs, and (3) to detect/verify at least one new QTL so that it can readily be implemented as with the first QTL. Initially, the focus will be on muscle depth traits, however, it is anticipated that nematode resistance will be a focus of Objective 3.

Immediate benefits to sheep breeders potentially include enhanced genetic progress for performance traits; longer-term benefits include the ability to appropriately include genetic markers in breeding programmes. Therefore, this project will contribute directly to the sustainability of the sheep sector. If we are successful in finding QTL for nematode resistance, then this potentially leads to a reduction in chemical inputs into sheep enterprises, with substantial benefits all stakeholders (except drug companies!).
Objective
The objectives of this project are as follows:
1. To determine optimal procedures and develop infrastructure for the use of combined QTL and performance data in commercial sheep breeding programmes, i.e. MAS.
2. To demonstrate the implementation of one known QTL into MAS programmes in the Suffolk, Texel and Charollais SRSs.
3. To detect/verify at least one new QTL so that it can readily be implemented as with the first QTL.

Objective 1 is an enabling objective, and substantial progress must be made before success can be demonstrated in Objective 2. It combines both technical activities and scientific innovation. However, if successful the impact of this objective will extend far wider than this project alone. Objective 2 is the core of the project, and should have multiple benefits such as (i) facilitating additional genetic progress for participating breeders, (ii) increasing knowledge of the target QTL and (iii) demonstrating protocols and benefits to other breeders. Objective 3 aims to add value to the project. Particularly, it seeks to exploit the outcomes of other Defra and LINK (including Defra, MLC and SEERAD) funded research for the benefit of participating breeders.
Project Documents
• Executive Summary : Marker assisted selection applied to commercial sheep   (3420k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2004

To: 2007

Cost: £243,203
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Charollais Sires, Meat and Livestock Commission, British Texel Sheep Society, The, Roslin Institute, Edinburgh (BBSRC), Suffolk Sire Referencing Scheme Ltd
Keywords
Biotech-non GM              
Farming              
Genomics              
Livestock              
Livestock Farming              
Marker              
Meat Quality              
Meat Traceability              
Molecular Biology              
Selection Index              
Sheep              
Sustainable Farming and Food              
Sustainable Production