Angus Genetics Inc.® Announces First Genomic-enhanced EPDs from High Density 50K Whole Genome Scan

AGI, IGENITY®, University of Missouri and Iowa State University partnership provides best value for Angus producers.

SAINT JOSEPH, MO. — January 28, 2010 — Angus Genetics Inc.® (AGI) announces the introduction of the first genomic-enhanced expected progeny differences (GE-EPDs) derived from a High Density Whole Genome Scan with 50,000 markers (HD WGS). This milestone in genetic advancement is a direct result of the collaboration between AGI, a subsidiary of the American Angus Association® (AAA); the University of Missouri; Iowa State University; and IGENITY®, a division of Merial.

The high-accuracy GE-EPDs are powered by the new high-accuracy IGENITY profile for Angus that includes 14 economically important traits derived from the 50,000-marker HD WGS. Today, the high-accuracy IGENITY profile for Angus is the only genomic test available that provides GE-EPDs for young animals, resulting in significantly improved accuracies for Angus EPDs.

The IGENITY profile for Angus is the only DNA profile used by AGI in the formulation of GE-EPDs. And the AGI/Merial partnership is the beef industry’s only source for marker-assisted EPDs.

“Individual Angus producers who are interested in making rapid genetic advancement through the use of DNA technology should use the IGENITY profile for Angus,” says Bill Bowman, AGI president. “This is the industry’s only DNA profile used by AGI and the American Angus Association in the formulation of GE-EPDs. We are excited about this development because it will continue to give Angus breeders and IGENITY customers a significant advantage in the marketplace today.”

Last summer, AGI and IGENITY entered into an agreement to provide American Angus Association members with GE-EPDs. The partnership marks the first time in the industry’s history that beef producers have access to GE-EPDs for multiple traits at once — and all derived from a breed-specific Angus profile. The introduction of HD WGS is the partnership’s most recent — and perhaps most innovative — development for the industry.

”Our partnership with IGENITY will continue to greatly benefit Angus producers of all herd sizes. Producers can be confident the high-accuracy IGENITY profile will help to improve their selection decisions, to indicate the genetic merit of their animals, and to increase the accuracy of EPDs,” Bowman says. “Through AGI and IGENITY’s common vision to provide the most advanced solutions to beef producers’ genetic selection and management needs, we will continue to bring advancements like the high-accuracy IGENITY profile to the marketplace.”

“The new high-accuracy IGENITY profile is more than just an HD WGS,” says Dr. Stewart Bauck, IGENITY executive director of research and development. “Using advanced techniques, the research and development team at IGENITY worked with Dr. Jerry Taylor at the University of Missouri and Dr. Dorian Garrick at Iowa State University to identify and combine the most powerful candidate gene markers and HD WGS 50,000 markers to create the most comprehensive and cost-effective product for Angus cattle on the market. Further, the high-accuracy IGENITY profile for Angus was developed specifically for Angus cattle, which makes it more predictive of Angus performance than a product developed across several breeds.”

“The high-accuracy IGENITY profile for Angus has been thoroughly researched and third-party validated, which — together with its incorporation into genetic evaluation — makes it one of the most important advances in beef cattle breeding in the marketplace today,” Dr. Bauck says.

The product’s initial results caused high interest in both the academic community and the beef industry when presented at the 2009 Beef Improvement Federation annual convention. “The entire industry has been waiting for this breakthrough,” says Dr. Taylor.

“One of the benefits of GE-EPDs derived from the HD WGS and causal gene markers is the dramatic increase in accuracy, which helps take the risk out of selection decisions for both commercial cow-calf and seedstock producers,” says Dr. Taylor. “Further, the GE-EPDs are easy to use because they combine the high-accuracy IGENITY profile results with traditional AAA EPDs that producers are familiar with using.”

“The increase in accuracy from incorporating the high-accuracy IGENITY profile for Angus is equivalent to adding about 16 progeny to a weanling bull’s marbling EPD.1 For young bulls with ultrasound, incorporating the IGENITY profile is comparable to adding an additional 12 progeny on top of ultrasound data,” says Dr. Taylor. “This can dramatically shorten generation intervals, allowing producers using Angus seedstock to make faster genetic progress.”

“Less risk and faster genetic progress — the high-accuracy IGENITY profile is an incredible value for beef producers,” says Dr. Taylor.

Through the comprehensive DNA offering from IGENITY, Angus producers can receive analyses on 14 economically important traits, including the most comprehensive list of GE-EPDs:

• Marbling • Percent choice (quality grade) • Docility

• Ribeye area • Yield grade • Average daily gain

• Fat thickness • Heifer pregnancy • Feed efficiency

• Carcass weight • Stayability (longevity) • Yearling weight

• Tenderness • Maternal calving ease

Plus the option to test for coat color, NH and AM in the same sample.

For more information about IGENITY, contact your IGENITY sales representative, call (877) 443-6489 or visit www.igenity.com/beef. For more information about high-accuracy, genomic-enhanced EPDs available from the American Angus Association, contact your Angus regional manager or call (816) 383-5100.

IGENITY is a division of Merial. Merial is a world-leading, innovation-driven animal health company, providing a comprehensive range of products to enhance the health, well-being and performance of a wide range of animals. Merial employs approximately 5,700 people and operates in more than 150 countries worldwide. Its 2009 sales were $2.6 billion. Merial is the Animal Health subsidiary of sanofi-aventis. For more information, please see www.merial.com.

Angus Genetics Inc. (AGI) is a division of the American Angus Association, with headquarters in Saint Joseph, Mo., which offers services to the more than 30,000 members of the American Angus Association and thousands of commercial cattle producers using Angus genetics across the United States. For more information about AGI or other Association programs, visit www.angus.org or call (816) 383-5100.

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