Utilising sequence data and genomics to improve novel carcass traits in beef cattle

Lead Participant: Anglo Beef Processors Uk


British Limousin Cattle Society (BLCS), Anglo Beef Processors (ABP) and Scottish Agricultural College (SAC) are partners in a three year £700,000 project to implement genomic selection for Video Image Analysis (VIA) carcass traits. The project is co-funded by the government-backed Technology Strategy Board and will combine abattoir VIA information on slaughter animals and high density genotypes from a number of Limousin sires to produce a UK Limousin SNP key. Once the SNP key is developed, Limousin genomic breeding values can then be accessed though a BLCS subsidiary company which can assist breeders in identifying which animals to genotype, facilitate the collection of DNA samples, and coordinate the transfer of genotype information and the resulting genomic breeding values.
Genetic improvement of beef carcass traits in the UK currently uses traditional BLUP genetic evaluations for live weight and ultrasound measures recorded mostly on pedigree animals. Installing VIA machinery into the abattoir provides the opportunity to collect large amounts of high quality carcass information on slaughter animals at line speed in the abattoir. With the VIA carcass traits being measured late in life, in high volume and on animals outside the pedigree sector they are an ideal subset of traits to benefit from genomic selection.
This project provides Limousin genomic breeding values for carcass traits that are measured on the actual beef carcass at the time of slaughter. The use of genomic selection also allows more accurate selection for carcass traits earlier – potentially at birth - in the animals life. These aspects combined will accelerate genetic improvement for carcass traits and provide a platform for genomic selection for future traits. Furthermore, market signals will be greatly strengthened in the supply chain with both the pedigree and commercial sectors using the same measurements of quality to assess their animals. This will enable clearer signals to be sent faster to the pedigree sector about the characteristics of animals that the market values and for which they should be breeding.

Lead Participant

Project Cost

Grant Offer

Anglo Beef Processors Uk, SHREWSBURY £965,283 £ 163,415


SRUC, United Kingdom £508,516 £ 508,516
British Limousin Cattle Society Limited, LEAMINGTON SPA £379,712 £ 100,000


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