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Livestock profit tool (LPT): using genomic information to identification of the most profitable animal


Brazil has the largest commercial cattle herd in the world, representing the biggest sector of agriculture in national gross value of production. The country already produces around 20% of the beef consumed on the planet, and this proportion is expected to increase rapidly, mainly by opening new markets. The identification of efficient and profitable animals for meat production is an opportunity to generate environmental and economic benefits. This is possible through real-time animal performance monitoring technologies using sensors and platforms which allow identify the most profitable optimal endpoint (OEP) of animals. Although it is essential for the economic success of the feedlot, OEP has never been commercially used in association with genomic information. In this context, the objective here is to develop a decision support system named Livestock Profit Tool (LPT). In Phase 1 (PIPE FAPESP), the development of the LPT system will include: 1) monitoring and collecting at least 1,000 phenotypes using the BeefTrader platform (FAPESP project 15/07855-7), which use sensors coupled to automatic scales and cameras, allowing the identification of most profitable individuals in feedlots and commercial slaughterhouses for meat production through intelligent algorithms; 2) collection, extraction and preservation of DNA of all these animals evaluated in order to build genomic libraries in the future; and 3) research for technical-scientific evaluation about the project based on questionnaires intended for cattle breeding programs, animal biotechnology companies and farmers associations. In Phase 2 (PIPE FAPESP), the number of animals evaluated by the BeefTrader platform will increase, and thus will be feasible genotyping these animals using high-density commercial chips and conduct genome-wide association studies (GWAS) aiming to find genetic markers related to OEP. This approach and methodologies have never been explored before, something that strengthens the present proposal in the scientific, technological and economic spheres, enabling the generation of products and services by the high innovative degree. The collection of the biological samples from these animals plus the phenotypes measurements will also allow the identification groups for profit (or net marginal value, $ / day). The innovative focus will be not only on the finishing phase of these animals but also on improving predictions in genomic selection. For these reasons, the marketing potential of the LPT system will surround the interest of animal biotechnology companies and laboratories, genetics companies, as well as producers and the meat industry. The proposal is based on knowledge and experience in i) OEP, growth biology and the body chemical composition of animals under evaluation (growth curves and tissue deposition); ii) advanced statistical methods, GWAS, and bioinformatics for data processing; and iii) phenotypic database obtained by sensors in automatic scales and imaging cameras via BeefTrader (AU)

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