Thoughts and concerns about genomics


  • L Schaeffer


The pace of genomic advances in humans and cattle is not slowing down. The dairy cattle industries around the world have grabbed hold of the new technology and have been racing to find better ways to evaluate dairy sires and cows. The purpose of this meeting is to find ways to combine different genomic solutions for international comparisons of bulls. However, we should not think that SNP chips are here to stay. Already it is possible to sequence the entire genome within 24 hours (for a price). The computing industry is already writing software to zip through the genome to make comparisons between different individuals, and to find genes. Thus, in a few years we will likely have chips to genotype individuals for every gene, and we will be in the business of estimating the effects of every allele of those genes. We may even estimate epistatic and epigenetic effects. The era of gene assisted selection will be upon us, selecting animals with the best combinations of alleles. This is the basis for my following comments.