How to Use Genomics To Sell More Genetics

For many years now, we have mainly talked about genomics as a completely separate word and process from genetics.

The thing is: We can’t talk about genetics without talking about genomics, and vice versa. They go together like peanut butter and jelly. So, let’s start by defining them.

In the context of animal breeding, we talk about genetics being the product that Seedstock producers sell. When they say ‘I sell genetics’ we know that they are talking about either live animals, semen or embryos.

For geneticists, we think in terms of genetic merit. So, when someone says ‘genetics’, we think of EBVs (Estimated Breeding Values) or EPDs (Expected Progeny Differences).

Genomics, on the other hand, is a term that has gone mainstream in the last decade or so. It often gets tangled up with the term genetics. But it’s different.

Genomics describes the molecular element of animal breeding. The DNA part.  So, when someone says genomics, think of DNA or DNA tests.

If you are a seedstock producer and you use genomics, you are not just selling genetics. You are selling peace of mind.

It took us a long time to find out how to combine genomics and genetics the correct way. It wasn’t easy. In the beginning, the industry thought it could just have ‘one size fits all’ for those genomics predictions.

But we saw that it wasn’t the case. So, we went back to the drawing board, got more samples, revisited our calculations and over time each breed released their own predictions that fit their own genetic evaluation process.

Despite the title of this article, the main focus of using genomics is not for marketing and promotion. We use genomics to create a system for a breed improvement program. Notice that I said system. Genomics is in itself a system, rather than a technology.

It’s a system because the use of genomics requires the collection of phenotypic data, the correct genotyping service provider, the correct genetic evaluation method and the training of end-users.

One of the many advantages of using genomics is that it increases the accuracy of selection, because by knowing an animal’s DNA profile we can get to the true genetic merit of that animal.

If you are a Seedstock producer and you use genomics, you are not just selling genetics. You are selling peace of mind. You need to ask your customer how much does he/she value their peace of mind. How much is it worth for a commercial customer that buys a bull that has been genomically profiled, that they are taking the guessing game out of the equation?

Always remember. You sell genetics with peace of mind. Nobody can beat that.

How about your international customers? How much is it worth to them that when they buy a bull from you that has been genomically profiled, they can also receive parentage markers that will help them beef up (pun intended) their breed improvement program?

As producers, you are making selection decisions every year. What to keep and what to breed. So, when you have a system that allows you to make the right selection decisions, you must use it. And, you have to allow your customers to use it too.

Always remember. You sell genetics with peace of mind. Nobody can beat that.

About the Author Elisa Marques

An advocate for lifelong learning. A self-admitted textbook collector. I have been traveling around the globe since the tender age of 16 and have lived in 3 different countries. Some say that the 90's cartoon character "Carmen SanDiego" was loosely based on me, but who knows. I am a nerd at heart with a huge passion for science, marketing and teaching.

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