Livestock Cropping & Pasture General Farm

DNA Markers and how they relate to traits

Does a DNA marker only relate to one trait?

Many traits are genetically correlated to one another due to the fact that genes can impact multiple traits. Likewise, DNA markers that are either within these genes or linked to them are likely to have effects on multiple traits. It is also possible for a marker to be linked to genes that have a positive effect for one trait and a negative effect for another.


What is an economically relevant trait?

A trait is an observable or measurable characteristic of an individual. An economically relevant trait is one that directly affects profitability through an association with a specific cost of production or income stream. Examples of economically relevant traits include reproduction, lean meat yield and feed efficiency.


Are all economically relevant traits heritable?

Economically relevant traits vary in level of heritability, measured as the percentage of observed variation that is due to underlying gene effects that can be transmitted from one generation to another. While heritability may differ between populations, in general, traits such as fertility tend to be more lowly heritable than traits such as growth rate and tenderness, which exhibit moderate to high degrees of heritability.


Can traits with a low degree of heritability can still be improved genetically?