IBBA Selects New DNA Testing Provider

Download IBBA’s DNA Price List

SAN ANTONIO, TX- The International Brangus Breeders Association (IBBA) has selected GeneSeek, a division of Neogen Corporation, as the association’s new genomics profiling provider. The partnership will allow Brangus breeders to submit DNA samples to GeneSeek for parentage determination and lay a foundation for Genomic-Enhanced EPDs for the breed association.

“IBBA’s agreement with GeneSeek moves us closer to conducting all Brangus parentage testing using Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP) genetic markers versus previously used technologies,” said Dr. Tommy Perkins, IBBA Executive Vice President.

Samples will be tested with the GeneSeek®Genomic Profiler™ GGP HD 80K and the GeneSeek®Genomic Profiler™ GGP LD 30K for eventual incorporation into genomic-enhanced EPDs for the Brangus breed. The GGP 80K is finding a role as a premium genomic profiler, while the GGP LD 30K is a highly accurate, affordable option for routine testing of herd bulls and other seedstock.

The arrangement allows Brangus breeders to request parentage as either a stand-alone SNP test or as part of their GGP HD 80K or GGP LD 30K results. Both profilers provide parentage verification along with a wealth of information on animal potential. Testing turn-around time is dependent on the type of testing requested.

Brangus breeders should be pleased with the innovative direction they are going, said Ryan Ruppert, National Sales Director for Neogen GeneSeek.

“Profiling is a much faster and affordable way to learn about the merit of bull calves. The profiles also help you confidently represent your seedstock at shows and sales,” Ruppert said. “Plus, a genomic profile on a bull calf or yearling may identify a potential A.I. sire, so if you are fortunate to experience this you can retain and showcase that animal.”

Genomics will have a growing impact on seedstock and commercial cow-calf operations, due to bottom-line benefits that matter to producers, he said.

Some “lowly heritable” traits have a big impact on a rancher’s bottom line. An example is reproductive performance. This is partly inherited and is also affected by management and nutrition. Knowing more about maternal traits of seedstock bulls helps ranchers buy the right young bulls and then select and invest in heifers that will breed and calve efficiently. Using genomic profiles, seedstock producers can measure maternal traits in young bulls and market them on that basis.

“Genomics helps you get the advantage of reliable EPDs without having to do years of progeny testing,” Ruppert said.

While maternal traits help ranchers raise great mother cows, in other cases the seedstock operators’ customers are looking for terminal bulls that will pass along growth efficiency. Genomic profiles also predict performance factors for feed efficiency and feed conversion, as well as carcass quality and composition. The information puts added power in the hands of seedstock breeders and their customers.

When IBBA members order tests from GeneSeek, results will be emailed or mailed. Contact Rosanne Sralla, IBBA Registry Specialist, by email or at 210-696-8231 with questions. For more information, visit www.GoBrangus.com.

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DNA Information Empowers Informed Selection and Breeding Decisions

Source: Pfizer Animal Genetics

Technology helps producers speed up genetic progress.

Steve Densmore, manager at Circle X Land and Cattle Co., is a strong believer in DNA testing.

Steve Densmore, manager at Circle X Land and Cattle Co., is a strong believer in DNA testing.

Selection and breeding decisions can affect the performance and profitability of a cow/calf operation for years to come. This is why Steve Densmore, who raises purebred Brangus cattle at Circle X Land and Cattle Co. in Bryan, Texas, uses genetic technology to help him make better decisions that also benefit his customers.

“We try to produce what commercial producers want,” Densmore says. “The genetic technologies we’ve acquired have allowed us to eliminate cattle that do not produce desirable traits and help us identify cattle that have traits that will continue to move our herd forward.”

Kent Andersen, Ph.D., associate director, Technical Services, Pfizer Animal Genetics, says the biggest advantage of DNA technology is the ability to make more-informed buying and breeding decisions.

“DNA technology is especially valuable when evaluating young, unproven seedstock,” Dr. Andersen says. “This information allows producers to make purchase decisions with greater assurance for important traits.”


To help accomplish their goals, producers are utilizing GENESTAR® Molecular Value Predictions (MVP®s). GENESTAR, a targeted-marker DNA test, provides producers with genomic information about key production traits in all breeds of beef cattle. Test results include MVPs for feed efficiency, marbling and tenderness. The reports also include percentile ranks, which are determined by benchmarking each animal against hundreds of its breed contemporaries in the Pfizer Animal Genetics database.

Commercial Brangus breeder J. Mack Bohn of Diamond JK Ranches believes DNA testing helps him improve his genetics and operation.

Commercial Brangus breeder J. Mack Bohn of Diamond JK Ranches believes DNA testing helps him improve his genetics and operation.

This information also is beneficial for commercial Brangus breeder J. Mack Bohn of Diamond JK Ranches in Cyril and Marlow, Okla., and Roark Ranches in Marlow, Amber and Cheyenne, Okla.

“Incorporating genetic technologies has not only allowed us to continue to create a great Brangus female, but it’s moved our steer program several notches above where it used to be,” Bohn says. “I’m able to look at a bull and know so much about him before I ever even consider putting him on a set of females, rather than finding out three or four years later if I made the right choice.”

GENESTAR MVPs are derived using a targeted marker panel for feed efficiency, marbling and tenderness.  GENESTAR features a Palatability Index, which combines information about tenderness (shear force) and marbling, and ranks animals according to described genomic merit for traits that impact tenderness, juiciness and flavor. What’s more, producers can use GENESTAR to identify animals that are homozygous or heterozygous for black or wild-type coat color.

This information empowers producers to select animals that will advance their herd and the goals of their breeding programs, Dr. Andersen says. They can use this information to:

  • Select breeding stock that are more likely to transmit desired genetic merit for palatability traits, feed efficiency and coat color
  • Identify animals with desired genetics for consumer satisfaction
  • Make more-informed mating decisions
  • Advance genetic progress

Bohn says DNA information helps make proactive changes rather than having to fix problems later.“DNA results tell us so much, and it doesn’t take years to gather this information — it’s there almost immediately,” Bohn says. “We’ve eliminated some herd sires that looked like great candidates visually and on paper but didn’t meet our standards based on the DNA information. This saves us from investing time and money and incorporating them into our program. And now that we’ve started incorporating GENESTAR into our females, it gives me a lot of confidence that I’m building a superior product.”

Dr. Andersen says that given today’s high input costs, it’s valuable for producers to take advantage of selection information derived from genomic technology.

“Genomic information can help take some of the guesswork out of seedstock selection and breeding decisions,” Dr. Andersen says. “Producers should talk with their seedstock suppliers about providing this information on sale cattle to help ensure they can make the most informed purchase decisions for their operations.”


All brands are the property of Pfizer Inc., its affiliates and/or its licensors. ©2012 Pfizer Inc. All rights reserved.

50K Genotyping Project: We Need Your Help

IBBA Continues to Gather Samples for 50k Genotyping Project and Genome-assisted EPD Development

Dear Brangus Breeder:

The Breed Improvement Committee met in Houston on March 1, 2012, and discussed our effort to accrue approximately 800 DNA samples from Brangus cattle for 50k genotyping with the Illumina BovineSNP50 assay. These data will be used to develop genome-assisted genetic evaluation (i.e., gEPD). To date, 200 samples have been catalogued at IBBA. This project is occurring in three phases. First, DNA samples need to be collected and catalogued. This will prevent duplication and allow us to keep on budget. Once the samples are received, we will ship them to the DNA service provider, GeneSeek, to obtain the 50k genotypes (i.e., 54,000 genotypes/animal). Last, Drs. Dorian Garrick (Iowa State University) and Milt Thomas (Colorado State University) will coordinate genetic prediction research using the 50k profiles. Any resulting capabilities will then be incorporated into our National Cattle Evaluation by the University of Georgia.

Dr. Milt Thomas and coworkers conducted a pedigree analysis of the IBBA database and learned that there are 17 prominent families-clusters and the samples we have obtained do a good job of representing these families. However, we still need to gather 600 new samples to have enough data for the project. Please contribute DNA from any registered Brangus animal, bull or cow, that has a weaning weight EPD accuracy of 0.35 or greater. If you have herd sires or donor dams that will have this level of the accuracy in the near future, please also contribute them to the project.

Please contact Lindsey Matli at the IBBA office for instructions on how to collect and send hair samples or straws of semen. By sending a sample, you are agreeing to pay $20 for the genotyping of each animal with IBBA paying $60 per sample. Submissions must be completed by June 1, 2012. Please contact the IBBA office at (210) 696-8231 with questions.


Frank Perry, Chair of the Breed Improvement Committee

Dr. Joseph Massey, IBBA Executive Vice-President


Approved Funding for DNA Project

IBBA Board of Directors approved funding for a DNA project that will genotype the Brangus breed in order for a gene marker map to be developed in order to produce Genomic Enhanced EPD for Brangus cattle. While other cattle breeds like Holstein and Angus are well on their way to routinely using Genomic Enhanced EPD’s for genetic selection, all other breeds must develop their own breed specific DNA Marker Map.

The details of the project are still being assembled. As more information is developed, IBBA members will be notified and given the opportunity to participate. Expect to see the details of this project and how to participate by early November.