Ireland is taking the lead in the development of an international bovine genome evaluation database for feed intake and efficiency in dairy cows.

Headed up by Teagasc‘s Donagh Berry, the SeqSel project is also developing a global database to identify key genomic regions.

The project includes key partnerships with other world-leading researchers in the UK, the Netherlands, Australia and New Zealand.

“The definition of feed efficiency in dairy cows is not simple and therefore requires an international initiative involving in-depth discussions to best define the relevant traits and methods of analysis. Because routine access to feed intake data for use in traditional breeding programmes is not feasible, alternative methods, exploiting sate-of-the-art technologies such as genome sequences is favoured,” explained Berry in a new EU publication, A decade of EU-funded Animal production research, published this month.

The project aims to become a global virtual centre of excellence for genomic selection.

According to Berry, SeqSel will organise exchanges of ideas such as database management, phenotyping, statistical modelling, genetics and genomics.

Berry further explained: “It will build knowledge on the suitability and relevance of collating data from multiple international sources for use in international genetic evaluations.

“Genomic evaluations for feed intake and efficiency in dairy cows using the largest database ever used will be produced, as will information on putative regions of the bovine genome associated with feed intake and efficiency in dairy cows.”