Benefits of cooperation between breeding programs in the presence of genotype by environment interaction

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Dairy cattle breeding programs and dairy farmers are selecting sires and dams across environments. Genotype × environment interaction (G × E) limits the possibilities for cooperation between breeding programs operating in different environments. The objectives of this study were 2-fold: 1) to investigate the effects of heritability, selection intensity, number of progeny per bull, and size of breeding programs on possibilities for cooperation between dairy cattle breeding programs in the short and long term in the presence of G × E, and 2) to quantify the effect of such cooperation on genetic gain. A dairy cattle situation with 2 breeding programs operating in 2 environments was simulated using a deterministic pseudo-BLUP selection index model. Long-term cooperation between the 2 breeding programs was possible in the presence of G × E, when the genetic correlation was higher than 0.80 to 0.90, resulting in up to 15% extra genetic gain. In addition, in the initial generations of selection, the breeding programs could benefit from mutually selecting sires and dams from each other when the genetic correlation was as low as 0.40 to 0.60. With more intense selection, breeding programs were less likely to benefit from cooperation with breeding programs in other environments. Heritability and number of progeny per bull had little effect on possibilities for cooperation, unless the heritabilities and the number of progeny per bull were extremely different in the 2 environments. Small breeding programs benefited more from cooperation than did large breeding programs, and benefits were possible even at lower values (i.e.,
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1727-1739
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2006


  • linear unbiased predictors
  • dairy-cattle
  • selection differentials
  • livestock improvement
  • genetic evaluation
  • asymptotic rates
  • holstein cattle
  • traits
  • populations
  • countries

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