SNP chip revolutionises sheep breeding
A cutting-edge genomic tool has
immediate on-farm applications for
breeding better sheep, faster.
The Ovine SNP50 BeadChip was launched in 2009, developed by an international team including AgResearch scientists. The groundbreaking technology can scan for 50,000 genetic variants (single nucleotide polymorphisms - SNP) at once. This isolates genetic differences linked to commercially important traits, such as disease resistance, meat quality and maternal ability.
Thanks to the SNP chip, more than 8,000 sheep have already been genotyped in New Zealand, exploring associations with more than 15 traits as part of Ovita-funded research, and the first commercial product predicting genetic worth for four traits will be released shortly. These traits are host resistance to parasites, number of lambs born, weaning and carcass weight. Around the world more than 20,000 animals have been genotyped with the chip to date.