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"Innovation in genomics is becoming an important
driver of economic growth".

Jose Angel Gurria
Secretary General, OECD

Plenary Speakers


“Human Genomics a Decade after the Human Genome Project: Opportunities and Challenges"

Eric D. Green MD, PhD.
National Human Genome Research Institute
United states


The Human Genome Project's generation of a reference human genome sequence-completed a little over a decade ago— was a landmark scientific achievement of historic significance. It also signified a critical transition for the field of genomics, as the new foundation of genomic knowledge started to be used in powerful ways by researchers and clinicians to tackle increasingly complex problems in biomedicine. To exploit the opportunities provided by the human genome sequence and to ensure the productive growth of genomics as one of the most vital biomedical disciplines of the 21st century, the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) is pursuing a broad vision for genomics research beyond the Human Genome Project. This vision includes using genomic data, technologies, and insights to acquire a deeper understanding of genome function and biology as well as to uncover the genetic basis of human disease. Some of the most profound advances are being catalyzed by revolutionary new DNA sequencing technologies; these methods are producing prodigious amounts of DNA sequence data as part of studies aiming to elucidate the complexities of genome function and to unravel the genetic basis of rare and complex diseases. Together, these developments are ushering in the era of genomic medicine.


“The power of genomics: Transforming lifes, business and the global economy"

Gerardo Jiménez Sánchez, MD, PhD
President & CEO, GBC Group
Harvard School of Public Health
Human Genome Organization
Genómica y Bioeconomía


The increased numbers of genomes sequenced, the emergence of next-generation sequencing technologies and the drop in its costs have stimulated life sciences innovation with a significant impact to the economy. The US investment in the Human Genome Project had a return of 141 US dollars for every dollar, yielding about a trillion dollars to their economy in the first decade.
Genomics applications have emerged in different fields, many of them aiming to contribute to meet global challenges such as healthcare, food sufficiency, global environment and sustainable energy sources. These include diagnosis of genetic and infectious diseases, initial risk assessment for complex disorders such as cancer, and personalized treatment for an array of drugs whose effects are associated to specific polymorphisms. Moreover, applications to improve available crops for human consumption as in the case of rice and corn, and the use of genotyping-based selection for cattle breeding programs to improve meat and dairy production is becoming a reality. In addition, the availability of genomic barcodes that identify specific commercial species is now supporting price regulation, traceability and environmental decisions in the fish markets. Furthermore, the convergence of technologies such as synthetic biology have opened a whole new horizon of possibilities that range from low-cost manufacture of drugs, to highly sophisticated new ways to produce hydrocarbons with a low carbon footprint.
According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) genomics is becoming an important driver of the bioeconomy, representing valuable opportunities for the developed and developing nations. However, to fully stimulate genomics innovation and uptake from society there are legal and social challenges that require to be carefully considered, including wide access to information, regulation of commercial uses of genomics, and fair access to products and services, among others.
It is reasonable to predict that genomics-based innovation will become a robust propeller of the bioeconomy in the next decade, thus it is essential to layout novel strategies to fully develop genomics-based innovation such as sharing of expertise and resources, strengthening public-private initiatives, and including in the agenda priorities that represent the needs from those whose level of development is behind the leading nations. If developed comprehensively, genomics innovation offers the opportunity to improve economic growth, social welfare and cultural enrichment.

“From genome variation to personalized medicine"

Prof. Stylianos Antonarakis, MD DSc
President, Human Genome Organization
University of Geneva


A large number of human disorders (including cancer) and other phenotypic traits are caused by or are associated with germline of somatic genomic alterations. The current goal of genetic medicine is to perform the matchmaking between the genomic variability and the phenotypic variability. The completion of the sequence of the human genome, and that of the genomes of other species provided unprecedented opportunities to determine the functional elements and the functional variability of these genomes. The elucidation of the cause of monogenic disorders, was a great success of the past decade, and will certainly continue in the next several years not only to provide precise diagnostic tools, but also to understand the molecular pathophysiology. The completion of recent genome wide association studies for numerous phenotypes, made it clear that common variation in the genome only accounts for a small fraction of the genetic etiology of complex, multifactorial diseases. The rapid, accurate, and relatively inexpensive sequence of individual genomes now provides an enormous challenge in the discovery of causative or predisposing genomic variants that could be used for diagnosis, prevention, or treatment. Comparative genomic analysis between species and between individuals, knowledge of the polymorphic structure of the genomes of different human populations, introduction of new tools to assess gene function, transcriptome analysis, exchange of DNA sequence variants, transcriptome analysis of accessible tissues, and assessment of the quantitative variability of gene expression, are all necessary requirements to meet this enormous challenge of genomic and epigenetic pathology. In addition, the remarkable similarity of functional genomic elements in mammalian and other species, provides further opportunities of animal experimentation for disease allele identification. In turn, functional analysis of the genome, and characterization of the functional variability are likely to provide new therapeutic opportunities. The mission of HUGO is to promote the provision of genetic services to all human populations worldwide, to ensure that the relevant data are available to the health professionals, and to provide leadership in the ethical, legal, social and financial issues associated with the medical genome and its associated phenotypes.



“Genomic medicine and public health"

Prof. David Hunter, MBBS, MPH, ScD
Dean for Academic Affairs
Vincent L Gregory Professor of Cancer Prevention
Harvard School of Public Health
Professor of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital & Harvard Medical School
Associate Member, Broad Institute of
Harvard and MIT
United States


Measured by the sheer quantity of reproducible new "risk factors" for diseases, the several thousand new inherited genetic variants robustly associated with a wide variety of diseases and traits in the last 5 years is a remarkable increase in epidemiological output. The speed and robustness of these findings stands in sharp contrast with usual epidemiologic practice in which it can take decades for new risk factors to be finally accepted after a long process of study-specific publication and debate followed by meta-analysis. These new genetic variants have opened up new avenues for research into the etiology of a wide range of diseases, and begin to offer the prospect of identifying persons at high risk of diseases that can be prevented or mitigated by screening and early treatment. Pharmacogenetic variants are also being found that indicate persons for whom specific medications may be dangerous or ineffective. These variants may also help establish the initial doses of medications potentially speeding up therapeutic response. Once sequencing and analysis of a human genome is <$1,000, large numbers of people may choose to have their genome sequenced, mainly for utility in tailoring drug choice and dosages. In oncology, the tumor genome can be sequenced, in addition to the inherited genome. Somatic mutations that occur during the life of the tumor may determine prognosis and therapeutic response. Many examples now exist of drugs that can counteract "driver" mutations in tumors, and delay tumor progression or even promote tumor regression. Although most tumors eventually become resistant to these drugs, the analysis of tumor genomes may provide a more rational basis for choosing which drugs to use, and which combinations of drugs may slow drug resistance. While there have been some spectacular successes using this approach, in most tumors determining the best drugs to use still involves educated guesswork, and establishing robust algorithms to match drugs and tumors will take much larger datasets with much longer clinical experience than is currently available. All of this complex work has to be done without misleading patients about the degree of confidence we have in genome-informed clinical decisions. A strong streak of genetic determinism present among many patients, and physicians, may cause us to overestimate the utility of these approaches prior to robust demonstration of effects and strength of effects.


“Genomics innovation for the cattle industry"

Prof. José Fernando Garcia
Universidad Estatal de Sao Paulo,
Araçatuba (UNESP)


Genomics has been propagated as a "paradigm shifting" innovation in livestock during the last decade. The possibility of predicting breeding values using genomic information has revolutionized the dairy cattle industry and is now being implemented in beef cattle. The ways genomics is changing cattle breeding through genomic selection, and how this change is allowing the articulation of assisted reproduction technologies with animal breeding, is discussed. We are just starting the long journey to reveal the functional aspects of the cattle genome, touching the frontier to a whole new venue for the development of novel applications in the livestock sector, such as selection tools for new traits (meat quality, diseases resistance, feed efficiency, heat tolerance), animal traceability and parentage verification.The implementation of these new tools in a feasible and cost effective way will generate a new revolution in the cattle sector, affecting positively the consumers and the societies in general. Analyzing the large amount of scientific literature related to cattle genomics, produced in the past five years, it is possible to observe the extremely fast pace on the adoption of scientific knowledge in the practical daily applications. With this in perspective, it is feasible to postulate that in the near future the Artificial Reproductive Technologies (ART), such as artificial insemination, embryo transfer and in vitro fertilization, combined with Genomic Evaluation (GE) approaches will be the driven forces to lead cattle breeding to a finer process than it is nowadays. From one side, GE improved methods will make possible to know which gene alleles are the exact ones desired for a given type of animal. On the other hand, ART will allow to check the presence of these favorable alleles in early stage in vitro produced embryos, making the whole selection and breeding process extremely more accurate. We also foresee the development of specific "genomic-audited" lineages, carrying specific and interconnected alleles selected inside the traditional breeds, which would offer better chances to the livestock industry to produce the animal required for each type of application, fostering quantity and quality parameters. This vision can also be beneficial to tropical animal production systems where traits related to environment adaptation (such as heat tolerance, low quality forage grazing ability, disease challenge resistance) play fundamental roles for its development, although still having their physiological basis to be uncovered.

“Genomics innovation to produce drought and heat tolerant crops for food and bioenergy markets"

Dr. Yafan Huang
President & Chief Scientific Officer
Performance Plants Inc.


Agricultural productivity is ultimately defined by crop yield. Recent agronomic and economic studies indicate that yield losses are most significantly attributable to environmental stresses such as drought and heat occurred over the growing season of many staple crops such as corn, soybean, rice, and wheat. Independent drought or heat stress would make measurable negative impact on their eventual yields. However, combined stresses of heat and drought trigger multiple-folds of higher damage in crop productivity than a single stress. Therefore, improvement of dual stress tolerance to heat and drought in crop plants has become a top priority for the development of agricultural biotechnology for both food and bioenergy markets. Aiming to solve this problem, we employed unique forward genetic screens and various genomic approaches in plants to unearth genes that are involved in the regulation of heat and drought tolerance. In particular, we have identified and completed functional studies of a subset of target genes that constitute a novel transcriptional regulatory cascade that controls plant's responses to the combined stress. In the laboratory conditions, Arabidopsis and canola plants with mis-sense expression of these regulatory genes were able to tolerate independent higher temperature or drought treatment. More importantly, these plants produced higher seed yield comparing to their controls when both stresses were applied simultaneously. The dual stress tolerance and yield enhancement properties of the transgenic plants were further confirmed by large-scale, multiple season and location field trials. These results represent a significant breakthrough in crop improvement, and technologies derived from this research could enable farmers around the world to maintain higher yield and productivity over variable and adverse environmental conditions.


“The pivotal role of synthetic biology in the bioeconomy"

Richard Johnson
CEO, Global Helix LLC
Chairman, OECD BIAC Technology Committee
National Academy of Sciences Board on Life Sciences
United States


Synthetic biology promises to serve as a core building block for the bioeconomy and new sources of economic growth in both developed and emerging markets. This presentation will summarize synthetic biology's significant opportunities for economic value creation and investment from three perspectives – (1) as a foundational technology and infrastructure for the bioeconomy; (2) as a key driver for a broad range of new applications, markets, and business models; and, (3) as a solutions-driven, problem-oriented set of technologies for addressing a range of global challenges in health, energy, the environment, and food. The second part of the presentation will highlight key challenges in realizing the economic and scientific promise of synthetic biology. Among the challenges discussed will be: (1) international regulatory conflicts; (2) investment and funding issues; (3) access, diffusion and ownership; (4) standards and "openness"; and (5) scaling synthetic biology to commercially competitive levels.


“Genomic selection of high economic value traits in Tilapia and other commercial fish species"

Prof. Brendan J. McAndrew
Professor of Aquaculture Genetics
Institute of Aquaculture
University of Stirling
Stirling, United Kingdom


Aquaculture production has continued to grow at around 6-8% annually. Today farmed seafood production (60 million tonnes) exceeds that of wild fisheries and has significant potential for future growth. Seafood is already the highest value globally traded food commodity. The yields of majority of farmed terrestrial animals and plants have expanded dramatically over the past 30 years helped by the widespread application of selective improvement and the recent addition of genomics to such programmes. However, most intensively farmed fish species have been in cultivation for relatively few generations (Atlantic salmon <12) and many (>100) are not under any scientifically managed replacement or improvement programmes. This raises many challenges for the application of genomics to the management and improvement of aquatic resources.
High throughput sequencing offers very powerful ways to analyse traits in aquaculture species particularly as costs have also fallen drastically in the last few years. One technique, restriction-site associated DNA sequencing (RAD-seq) allows screening of DNA flanking restriction enzyme sites from many individuals in a single sequencing lane, leading to accurate identification and genotyping of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). This enables the rapid development of markers for pedigree assignment, linkage mapping and QTL analysis, even in species that have few genetic or genomic tools. The development of single sex populations and improving the disease resistance are high priority traits farmed fish. The application of RADseq to fine map the sex determining genes in the Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) and Atlantic halibut will be described as will the application of MAS in the development of IPNV resistant Atlantic salmon. We expect that RAD-seq will be valuable for the analysis of other traits of importance in many new aquaculture species in the future.


“Pharmacogenomics: personalizing drug therapy"

Prof. Howard McLeod, PharmD
Medical Director, Personalized Medicine Institute
Senior Member, Division of Population Sciences
Moffitt Cancer Center
United States


The field of genomics has seen some exciting advances in the recent past. The Human Genome Project and International HapMap projects have uncovered a wealth of information for researchers. Improvements in sequencing technology empower a greater breadth and depth of investigation into the genome of patients. This has lead to greater efforts in genomic discovery, with over 2000 genome-wide association studies published in the past three years. This has generated clinically predictive germline genotypes, germline haplotypes and somatic mutations. With pharmacogenetics comes the promise of individualized therapy selection for many common diseases where multiple treatment options are available. The introduction of FDA approved pharmacogenetic tests and the initiation of genotype-guided clinical trials have provided the first steps towards the integration of pharmacogenomics into clinical practice. However, it is also clear that more effort is needed to drive the scientific discovery to clinical application. These include the need for discovery strategies for finding predictors of toxicity or efficacy for most commonly used medicines, validation of predictive markers in relevant populations, and integration of new tests into health systems. However, many countries will not have access to pharmacogenetics resources to individualize patient therapy for decades to come. The PharmacoGenetics for Every Nation Initiative (PGENI) is a first step to making pharmacogenetics applicable on a global level. Generation of genotype profiles for 'common' population groups within a country will provide a useful, but not perfect resource for incorporating pharmacogenetics into national drug formularies in the form of prioritization or tailored surveillance recommendations for a countries population. Targeted educational efforts will also prepare the Ministry of Health staff from participating countries to better integrate genetic information into many areas of health care, including disease management and therapeutic development. Academic medicine must not be content with participation in early detection of the genes involved in drug effect, but must work to realize the potential for patients. This includes non-scientific barriers, such as changing old habits to allow application of new data, and the reality that the cost of both testing and the therapeutic options are a key driver in health care. As the scientific evidence matures, a team research approach must be more aggressively applied in order to overcome the many obstacles to delivering more careful selection of drug therapy.


“Innovation, ethics and policy for Bioeconomy"

Prof. David Castle
Chair of Innovation in the Life Sciences
Director, MSc BIG Programme
ESRC Innogen Centre
University of Edinburgh
United Kingdom


The bioeconomy describes real economic activity that is based on life science and biotechnology, and extends from primary production systems through to the fine chemicals industry. The bioeconomy also refers to aspirations for new areas of the economy, and transformations of existing areas, toward bio-based and sustainable production of materials, energy, food, drugs, and fibre. Customary use of the word 'bioeconomy' mixes together what the bioeconomy stands for now, or what the bioeconomy is hoped to be in the future. Which of these senses of 'bioeconomy' can be clear from context, but sometimes it is necessary to carefully disentangle bioeconomy's various meanings. This is particularly true when considering the values that motivate the bioeconomy, and when identifying and justifying ethical implications of bioeconomic activity. These normative aspects of the bioeconomy are related to, but must be kept distinct from, assessments of the structure and dynamics of the bioeconomy that contribute to the evidence base for informed policy and decision making processes. Where does greater conceptual clarity assist our processes and decision making most? On the one hand, the bioeconomy presents itself as an opportunity for economic renewal and growth, but the urgency associated with many key socio-economic challenges for which sustainable solutions are being sought reframes bioeconomic activity as having an underlying moral imperative that cannot be ignored. Policy processes that promote growth of the bioeconomy, especially when innovation is framed as a socio-economic and environmental imperative, must conjoin accurate portrayals of the potential for new or renewed economic activity with justifiable objectives. These outputs or outcomes depend on new forms of industrial organisation and dynamics for which societies are not always able or willing to deliver – for example new types of regional smart specialisation. On the other hand, if deliberate action to expand the bioeconomy is construed as fulfilling an obligation to us and to the planet, then accepting the duty or requiring it of others is reasonable to so long as it implies that the means of achieving it are within reach. The importance of the skills agenda cannot be underestimated when it comes to re-skilling and up-skilling people for the bioeconomy since the bioeconomy would falter without the mix of people's competencies and organisational capacities. True as this might be descriptively, it suggests an ethical obligation to properly prepare people and societies expected to transition towards the bioeconomy. Defending an innovation imperative, and promoting the skills agenda, are two critical areas of the bioeconomy in which descriptions of, and aspiration for, the bioeconomy must cohere.

“Production of sustainable fuels and chemicals using synthetic biology applications"

Andreas Schirmer, PhD.
Director of Microbial & Cellular Engineering
LS9 Inc.


LS9 is committed to providing sustainable fuels and chemicals to meet current and future world demands. LS9's industrial biotechnology platform converts diverse renewable feedstocks to drop-in fuel and chemical products. LS9's proprietary catalysts enable simple one-step conversions and recovery processes that minimize both capital and operating costs while maximizing product flexibility.
The LS9 technology platform is based on harnessing the efficiency of microbial fatty acid biosynthesis and employing a bioengineering strategy that places all chemical unit operations within a single whole cell catalyst. LS9 has enabled efficient biosynthetic routes and processes to a diversity of sustainable fuels and chemicals, including esters, alcohols, alkenes, and alkanes. These products can be used as drop-in compatible fuels or can serve as tailored feedstocks for a variety of specialty chemicals and fuels. The rapid design, construction, evaluation, and improvement of engineered microbes for these processes are greatly enhanced by the use of state-of-the-art synthetic biology techniques.
This presentation will give an overview of the LS9 technology platform, introduce novel metabolic pathways towards sustainable fuels and chemicals and will elaborate how synthetic biology is integrated into these processes.


“Applications of genomics to the fishing industry"

Prof. Gary Carvalho
Professor of Molecular Ecology
School of Biological Sciences
University of Wales, Bangor
United Kingdom


It is well recognised that fisheries resources are a major contributor to human well-being across the globe, providing a range of social and economic benefits. Moreover, exploited species typically comprise important components of aquatic ecosystems across trophic levels, and thus underpin aspects of ecosystem diversity and function. Such contributions are, however, increasingly under threat. Despite the long-held aim of sustainable yields, numerous wild populations are either over-exploited or are in precipitous decline. While the global view is not universally pessimistic, we need to recognise fisheries as natural resources that are not necessarily renewable. Moreover, the time-scale for management should be extended to incorporate effectively the implications of biological integrity, genetic change and evolutionary response. Such ideas are, however, not new. Since the turn of the 20th century, emphasis was placed on the local self-sustaining population or stock, and not the typological species, as the unit of study for fisheries management. Correspondingly there has been significant investment in identifying and monitoring the dynamics of such population-level integrity. Nevertheless, it is the usual lack of recognition that stock integrity is influenced by genetic processes, and that such integrity is vulnerable to industrial fishing practices that jeopardises sustainability. Early applications of genetics were first applied to fisheries in the context of stock structure analysis. Markers such as blood and enzyme polymorphisms were employed to discriminate and tag natural stocks, typically with varying degrees of success. Some six decades later, the need and opportunities for such applications cannot be overstated. Here, I consider the underlying rationale for sustainable exploitation within an evolutionary context: why it is necessary, and how it can facilitate recovery and conservation of natural fisheries resources. A brief historical narrative and critique of genetic and genomic approaches will be presented, with an emphasis on the role that fisheries geneticists and managers can play in developing programmes towards sustainable exploitation. There remains a need to focus efforts that integrate a quantitative (numerical change in fish abundance) with a qualitative (changes in genetic composition) approach. New techniques such as the application of advanced second and third DNA sequencing technologies will be considered, with applications ranging from traceability to conservation of adaptive diversity. Challenges such as climate change, fisheries-induced evolution, overexploitation, stock recovery and resilience, and the devastating impact of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU) will be highlighted.

“Marker-assisted selection for precision plant breeding: The case of submergence-tolerant rice"

Prof. David Mackill
Department of Plant Pathology
University of California
United States


Rice is a crop well adapted to wet, monsoon climates and allows farmers to produce food in flooded landscapes. However, excessive rainfall often leads to inundation of the plants, resulting in yield loss and crop destruction. This problem afflicts over 20 million ha of rice production in South and Southeast Asia alone. Most rice varieties can tolerate only a few days of submergence and die after about a week. A handful of farmers' traditional varieties were discovered that could tolerate two or more weeks of submergence. However, it was difficult to transfer this trait into high yielding rice varieties with conventional plant breeding methods.
In all of the highly tolerant cultivars, submergence tolerance is conferred by the SUB1A gene that codes for an ethylene response factor. The tolerant allele is highly induced under submergence. These cultivars have a quiescent response to submergence. Their growth is slowed and energy conserved when submerged, in contrast to the typical rice cultivar that shows rapid leaf and internode elongation. They also protect their chlorophyll, allowing underwater photosynthesis and fast recovery.
A marker assisted backcrossing (MABC) approach was used to transfer SUB1A from tolerant cultivars into the widely grown mega varieties of Asia. The first variety selected was Swarna, grown on approximately 6 million ha in India and Bangladesh. Swarna-Sub1 was over 99% genetically identical with Swarna except for the introgression of the SUB1 locus. Swarna-Sub1 showed superior performance under controlled submergence and under natural flooding in farmers' fields and was accepted by farmers as being equal or better than Swarna under both flooded and non-flooded conditions. National governments officially approved the variety in 2009 and promoted its widespread distribution to farmers in submergence-prone areas. The variety was estimated to cover over 1.7 million ha in 2013.
SUB1 was similarly introduced into seven other mega varieties through MABC; national programs already officially released four of them and the rest are in the release pipeline. Under submergence of 7 – 14 days, these tolerant cultivars have an average yield advantage of 1.5 t/ha over intolerant cultivars in farmers' fields, with no reduction in yield under non-submerged conditions. The gene is also being combined with tolerance to drought and salinity stresses. Due to the increasing prevalence of submergence in lowland rice environments, SUB1 is gradually being incorporated into all varieties developed for lowland ecosystems by IRRI, and several national programs are also introducing the gene into locally-adapted varieties



“From science to business: Turning basic science into commercial success”

Yaacov Michlin
President & CEO, Yissum
Hebrew University of Jerusalem


Israeli academic institutions are major part in a system and mentality that turned Israeli into the Start Up Nation. Our Universities leads by the Hebrew University are ranked among top universities of the world while our research budgets are modest. The Hebrew University is the largest research university and the top ranked university in Israel generating approx. 30% of Israeli academic research. Yissum is the largest Tech Transfer Company in Israel, ranked among top 15 tech transfer companies in the world, creating 300 research positions and 10 start-up companies per year. Making more out of less is our goal and we are assisted by the supportive eco-system of Israel. Our systems encourage top applied science, taking risk and investing in the future of our Bio and high Tech industries. The strength of our universities, the government funding, the Incubator Program and the roles of VCs and Angels will be discussed. Specific examples of success and failures in different areas varying from Bio-tech, Genomics, Agriculture, Nanotechnology and others will be given. New financing models for investing in Bio and agriculture will conclude the lecture.

“Genomics and the global beef cattle industry"

E. John Pollak, PhD.
U.S. Meat Animal Research Center, Clay Center, NE
United States


Beef cattle selection for protein production requires appropriate emphasis placed on Economically Relevant Traits (ERT). Most ERT are quantitative traits. Many beef organizations provide genetic evaluations based on statistical analysis of performance and pedigree information for certain ERT. This works well for traits that are easy to measure in the field, measured early in life, cost effective to measure and that will respond well to selection (moderately to highly heritable). Examples of traits that fit these criteria are early life growth traits and carcass quality attributes. These traits are output ERT which impact revenue. There are many ERT that are left out of breeding objectives because the capacity to collect data in the field does not exist or the cost of data collection is too high to do so in the quantity needed to support an national evaluation program. Many of these ERT affect input costs of production such as animal health, feed efficiency and adaptability. These traits are fertile ground for the application of genomic technology. The value of genomic information can be considered through its impact on the accuracy of genetic predictors. The potential value of the technology is greatest for ERT for which no genetic evaluation exists. For ERT that are routinely evaluated through an existing genetic evaluation system, integration of genomic information (e.g. Molecular Breeding Values, MBV) has the greatest impact on individuals with limited data. However, a challenge in the development of genomic tools for beef cattle selection in is the diversity of breeds represented in the industry. The efficacy of prediction equations for MBV from commercially available SNP assays trained directly on the genetic assessment of highly proven animals has been demonstrated for within breed application. However, prediction equations are not robust across breeds. As such, the most significant implementation of genomic information has been to create genomic enhanced genetic evaluations (GEBV) within a breed from equations developed from the genetic assessment of highly proven animals. GEBV are achieved by incorporating the MBV directly into genetic evaluation systems or indexing the MBV with the genetic evaluation. This application in beef is consistent with that used by the international dairy industry. It appears that to create robust genomic prediction equations that work across the diversity of breeds will require strategies that focus on variants associated with biological processes. Efforts in sequencing important animals in the global beef industry are underway to identify variants and to associate those variants with the genetic variation observed across beef populations. Preliminary results in validation populations support this strategy for developing genomic selection tools.

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