Animal Science Department


Date of this Version



Published in J Anim Sci. 2018 Nov; 96(11): 4532–4542.

doi: 10.1093/jas/sky330

PMCID: PMC6247857

PMID: 30107560


Copyright © The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the American Society of Animal Science. Used by permission.


Across the majority livestock species, routinely collected genomic and pedigree information has been incorporated into evaluations using single-step methods. As a result, strategies that reduce genotyping costs without reducing the response to selection are important as they could have substantial economic impacts on breeding programs. Therefore, the objective of the current study was to investigate the impact of selectively genotyping selection candidates on the selection response using simulation. Populations were simulated to mimic the genome and population structure of a swine and cattle population undergoing selection on an index comprised of the estimated breeding values (EBV) for 2 genetically correlated quantitative traits. Ten generations were generated and genotyping began generation 7. Two phenotyping scenarios were simulated that assumed the first trait was recorded early in life on all individuals and the second trait was recorded on all versus a random subset of the individuals. The EBV were generated from a bivariate animal model. Multiple genotyping scenarios were generated that ranged from not genotyping any selection candidates, a proportion of the selection candidates based on either their index value or chosen at random, and genotyping all selection candidates. An interim index value was utilized to decide who to genotype for the selective genotype strategy. The interim value assumed only the first trait was observed and the only genotypic information available was on animals in previous generations. Within each genotyping scenario 25 replicates were generated. Within each genotyping scenario the mean response per generation and the degree to which EBV were inflated/deflated was calculated. Across both species and phenotyping strategies, the plateau of diminishing returns was observed when 60% of the selection candidates with the largest index values were genotyped. When randomly genotyping selection candidates, either 80 or 100% of the selection candidates needed to be genotyped for there not to be a reduction in the index response. Across both populations, no differences in the degree that EBV were inflated/deflated for either trait 1 or 2 were observed between nongenotyped and genotyped animals. The current study has shown that animals can be selectively genotyped in order to optimize the response to selection as a function of the cost to conduct a breeding program using single-step genomic best linear unbiased prediction.