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Beyond the Bale : September 2019
53 ON FARM EXPLORING GENOMIC TOOLS FOR BREECH FLYSTRIKE RESISTANCE In 2005, AWI initiated the Breech Flystrike Resource flocks in NSW and WA. The Breech Flystrike Resource flocks now represent more than nine years of selection in divergent lines for breech flystrike resistance and its indicator traits, and can be used as a reference population. The flocks form a unique resource to explore the genomic differences for breech flystrike resistance and they provide the opportunity to develop genomic selection tools. Consequently, AWI has invested in obtaining genomic information in the form of high density DNA profiles on more than 1,500 sheep from the two flocks. “This is an incredible resource to explore genomic approaches for breech flystrike resistance,” said lead researcher Dr Sonja Dominik from CSIRO Agriculture and Food. “Genomic information can potentially fast-track permanent and accumulative improvements not just for breech flystrike itself, but also for the indicator traits of breech wrinkle, breech cover and dag.” In a recent study, the use of the genomic information for both the estimation of GEBVs or as a genomic test as a tool for direct selection on breech flystrike was explored based on the 1,500 sheep from the flocks. THE RESEARCH RESULTS The genome-wide association study for breech flystrike, breech wrinkle, breech cover and dag demonstrated that there appears to be no major genes associated with these traits. This implies that these traits are instead influenced by many genes, each with small effects, suggesting that a marker assisted selection approach will be largely ineffective in breeding for breech strike resistance. Instead, the results indicate that GEBVs will be an effective tool to further increase genetic progress in breech flystrike resistance (along with phenotypic selection for low wrinkle, cover and dag) by identifying genetically superior sheep for breeding for breech flystrike resistance. “We were not surprised that we didn’t find genes of major effect that would have enabled the development of a genomic test,” said Dr Dominik. “We are dealing with a very complex trait that is genetically influenced by thousands of genes. “However, genomic breeding values harness all the genomic information and they can be used just like a traditional breeding value.” The combination of genomics with pedigree information would provide a powerful tool to select animals accurately and directly for breech flystrike resistance in addition to wrinkle, breech cover and dags and provide faster genetic progress. “Genomics is the ideal tool for breech flystrike resistance because it is such a difficult and expensive to measure trait,” said Dr Dominik. “To obtain the relevant information for the estimation of genomic breeding values breeders only have to collect a drop of blood on a card.” Genomic profiles from more animals would be needed to increase the accuracy of any breech flystrike resistant GEBVs. However, breech flystrike resistance in Merino sheep is a great example of how a comprehensive toolbox can be built with the addition of new research and technology developments to address an industry problem. AWI continues to investigate options of how a genomic resource flock for flystrike could be generated and maintained. MORE INFORMATION View the project report Genotyping of breech flystrike resource at www.wool.com. FLIES AND MAGGOTS - SEND US YOUR BEST This is your chance to get involved in Australian sheep blowfly research targeting insecticide resistance by submitting samples of maggots and/or flies during the upcoming flystrike season to two AWI funded collaborative projects. For more information on both projects see www.wool.com/insecticideresistance CALLING ALL MAGGOTS! FREE INSECTICIDE RESISTANCE TESTING available now! Determine the most cost-effective blowfly treatment for your property. This project aims to determine the insecticide resistance profiles of blowflies across all wool producing states. By participating in this research and providing live maggot samples, you wiill receive test results for your property which show the chemical groups that are most effective for your flock. Contact Narelle Sales at DPI NSW to request a postage paid maggot collection kit or for more information on how to get involved: email@example.com OR (02) 4640 6446 WE WANT YOUR FLIES! WHY? To contribute to a blowfly genetics project providing critical information for the future implementation of effective blowfly management control strategies, including containment of blowfly resistance outbreaks and development of a flystrike vaccine. All you will need to do is collect the trapped blowflies at three different times, then simply send to University of Melbourne. A fly trap, collection tubes and reply-paid post bags for the samples will be provided. Contact the University of Melbourne for more information on how to get involved: firstname.lastname@example.org OR (03) 8344 2362
In the Shops - September 2019