Accuracy and efficienty of genetic selection

The online searchable database for the National Sheep Improvement Program(NSIP) has proven to be a widely utilized tool in helping sheep producers select breeding sheep based on Estimated Breeding Values(EBVs). The public database allows users to filter large volumes of data to find animals with specific genetic merits based on the producer’s needs. However, the first iteration of the database presents data in a strictly numerical format. An opportunity exists to present the various EBVs in a graphical form and to simplify the reporting process to improve the efficiency of finding breeding stock to suit various needs. The proposed updates will allow users to compare an individual sheep’s EBVs with the rest of the population to see exactly where that animal ranks in a graphical form and allow for more accurate genetic selections. Additionally, with numerous datapoints on hundreds of thousands of sheep, users can often become overwhelmed and a simplified “5-star system” could be used in conjunction with the individual EBVs to help simplify the genetic selection process.

Objectives

1. Update the NSIP searchable database to display data graphically as well as the current numeric format.
2. Develop and implement a simplified “5-star” rating system for the various trait types to simplify genetic selection.
3. Update the reporting of extended pedigrees to allow users to view the full history of an animal.
4. Develop and deliver updated educational materials and programming so the revised database can be implemented throughout the U.S. sheep industry.
Meeting these objectives will improve access to genetic data for producers throughout the country leading to improved accuracy of genetic selection and increased profitability for all producers.