Hendrix Genetics Genomics Laboratory

Published on Dec. 1, 2016

Genomic Selection in the Turkey Breeding Program

Hendrix Genetics has been applying genomic selection in the pig and layer breeding programs for several years already and we are now excited to announce recent initiatives to integrate this technology into our turkey program.

What is genomics?

Genomics is the sequencing and analysis of an organism’s genome (DNA). By analyzing phenotypes (traits we can see and measure, such as body weight) along with genomic data (DNA from individuals), we can make more accurate selections of desirable traits and see them improve at a faster rate.

The turkey genome was sequenced in 2010. In 2015, a high density Turkey SNP (single nucleotide polymorphism) chip was created via a collaboration project between the two primary turkey breeders and the USDA (http://www.scientistlive.com/content/array-turkey-genotyping)

Application at Hybrid Turkeys

Upon completion of the turkey SNP project in 2015 the R&D team at Hybrid Turkeys and the team at Hendrix Genetics Research and Technology Centre (HGRTC) condensed the findings to a 65K chip focused on the core traits of Hybrid Turkeys’ populations. 

The past 3 months we have had Katrijn Peeters, Research Geneticist from HGRTC, join the R&D team of Hybrid Turkeys in order to test the initial reference population* and develop the tools necessary to implement genomics in our day-to-day selection program. Katrijn has been an important member of the team that took care of the implementation of genomic selection in the layer breeding program of Hendrix Genetics. This previous experience was instrumental to ensure we apply genomic selection to the turkey program in the most efficient and effective manner.

We are committed to investing in sustainable ways to enhance turkey genetics so that your business can benefit from our genetic improvements. 

* The reference population is the best representation of the key ancestors and individuals who have very trustworthy breeding values.  The reference population will be used to make the link between genotypes (DNA of individuals) and phenotypic performances (such as bodyweight for example).