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Accounting for genomic pre-selection in national BLUP evaluations in dairy cattle

Clotilde Patry12* and Vincent Ducrocq1

Author Affiliations

1 INRA, UMR 1313 Génétique Animale et Biologie Intégrative, F-78350 Jouy-en-Josas, France

2 UNCEIA, Département de Génétique, 149, rue de Bercy, F-75595 Paris Cedex, France

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Genetics Selection Evolution 2011, 43:30  doi:10.1186/1297-9686-43-30

Published: 18 August 2011



In future Best Linear Unbiased Prediction (BLUP) evaluations of dairy cattle, genomic selection of young sires will cause evaluation biases and loss of accuracy once the selected ones get progeny.


To avoid such bias in the estimation of breeding values, we propose to include information on all genotyped bulls, including the culled ones, in BLUP evaluations. Estimated breeding values based on genomic information were converted into genomic pseudo-performances and then analyzed simultaneously with actual performances. Using simulations based on actual data from the French Holstein population, bias and accuracy of BLUP evaluations were computed for young sires undergoing progeny testing or genomic pre-selection. For bulls pre-selected based on their genomic profile, three different types of information can be included in the BLUP evaluations: (1) data from pre-selected genotyped candidate bulls with actual performances on their daughters, (2) data from bulls with both actual and genomic pseudo-performances, or (3) data from all the genotyped candidates with genomic pseudo-performances. The effects of different levels of heritability, genomic pre-selection intensity and accuracy of genomic evaluation were considered.


Including information from all the genotyped candidates, i.e. genomic pseudo-performances for both selected and culled candidates, removed bias from genetic evaluation and increased accuracy. This approach was effective regardless of the magnitude of the initial bias and as long as the accuracy of the genomic evaluations was sufficiently high.


The proposed method can be easily and quickly implemented in BLUP evaluations at the national level, although some improvement is necessary to more accurately propagate genomic information from genotyped to non-genotyped animals. In addition, it is a convenient method to combine direct genomic, phenotypic and pedigree-based information in a multiple-step procedure.