Breeders can delve into genomics at annual meeting


REYNOLDSBURG, Ohio — Five experts in genomic testing and evaluation will share their perspectives and prognosis for the future of Jersey genomics in a moderated panel discussion June 27 during the American Jersey Cattle Association-National All Jersey annual meetings in Alexandria, Va.

The program will feature three researchers from the USDA Animal Genomics and Improvement Laboratory at Beltsville, Md. — genomics pioneer Curtis P. Van Tassell, research leader Dr. Erin E. Connor, and animal scientist Tabatha Cooper — plus Dr. Michael D. Bishop of Illumina, Inc.; and Jeremy Walker of GeneSeek.

As of May 26, 72,378 Jersey genotypes (58,164 female and 14,214 male) were recorded in the database managed by the Council on Dairy Cattle Breeding.

The panelists will discuss their individual areas of contribution to genomic evaluations and engage in a group discussion on genomic testing and evaluations and what it has meant for Jersey breeders since commercial release of the Illumina Bovine SNP50 chip in 2007.


Van Tassell was one of three project leaders for the Bovine HapMap Consortium that completed sequencing the bovine genome in 2008.

He was a principal in the development of the Bovine SNP50 chip, which is regarded as the global standard for genomic predictions, and collaborated with colleagues at the Animal Improvement Programs Laboratory to develop genomic PTAs. This has reduced the cost for A.I. sire development, enabled marketing of high genetic merit bulls earlier in life, and contributed to accelerated rates of genetic gain in production, type and health traits.

Joining the panel will be Erin Connor, research leader of the Animal Genomics and Improvement Laboratory (AGIL) at Beltsville, Md.; Tabatha Cooper, an animal scientist responsible for monitoring incoming genomic data and reporting and correcting discovered pedigree discrepancies; Michael Bishop of Illumina, was previously director of research for American Breeders Service (now ABS Global) before co-founding Infigen; and Jeremy Walker is the business development lead at GeneSeek, Lincoln, Neb.

This program also sets the stage for Dr. Ole Meland, chair of the Council on Dairy Cattle Breeding, who will address the 146th annual meeting of the American Jersey Cattle Association June 28.

Questions for the panel may be submitted through June 25 by email to program moderator Cari Wolfe at

Registration for the 2014 AJCA-NAJ annual meetings is open on the USJersey web site.

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