Genomics at the heart of Aviagen's R&D

chicken jaymefrye flickrGenomics helps identify naturally occuring genetic markers, identifying elite birds best suited for quality produce. (Image source: Jayme Frye/Flickr)Poultry breeder Aviagen propagates the use of genomics for the commercial selection of birds, which results in the production of a stronger breed and productive poultry

The company's genomics project helps identify naturally occuring markers with the genomes of elite birds and using those markers to boost productivity, stated Aviagen.

Dr Eduardo Souza, program geneticist for Aviagen spoke at the Hatchery Innovation Summit Asia, held in Bali, Indonesia, where he described the latest technology applied to pedigree flocks to deliver balanced performance in broilers and breeders.

He said, "Genetics is crucial to the development of high-performance broilers and breeders because different regions require different traits in birds, and selecting those traits demands extensive knowledge, constant patience, and an unfaltering adherence to best practices. To ensure poultry breeders see the best possible results, while safeguarding the health and welfare of their stock, we keep genetics at the very heart of our R&D operation.”

Aviagen began using genomics in its commercial selection programme in 2012 and became the first company to include genomic information as a critical additional source of information in the R&D breeding program.

This information can be used to improve all traits in a breeding program including live performance, critical feed conversion rate, health, disease resistance and welfare of poultry. Through this project, one can witness the range in genetic sequences, which is especially helpful in identifying traits that have a limited record of information.

For instance, Aviagen has been able to predict the genetic potential for egg production or hatchability of a male selection candidate based on the qualities of its family, but without individual records, it is not possible to differentiate birds from the same male and female parent. With genomics, one can see what the genetic configuration of each bird is and what has been inherited from its parents, which helps in making accurate selection decisions.

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