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Dernière mise à jour : Mai 2018

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Genetic selection for sustainable cows and sustainable milk production: genetic basis and opportunities offered by genomic selection

INRA Prod Anim 22(6) 145-156


1 Institut de l’Elevage, UMR GABI, 149 rue de Bercy, F-75595 Paris, France

2 INRA, UMR1313 GABI, F-78352 Jouy-en-Josas, France

3 AgroParisTech,UMR1313 GABI, F-75231 Paris, France

4 UNCEIA, 149 rue de Bercy, F-75595 Paris, France


Genetic improvement, being one of the major development factors of the dairy industry, now needs to evolve, in particular to contribute more to agriculture sustainability. A change in direction towards a better awareness of fitness traits (fertility, resistance to mastitis, longevity…) took place at the end of the nineties but its outcome is still limited. Genomic selection offers a remarkable opportunity for selection schemes to strongly increase genetic trends for fitness traits while maintaining constant genetic gain on production. Concurrently, a proliferation of new projects can be observed, with the objective to include new traits in selection programs. The first two fields concerned are animal health and fine milk composition. Feed efficiency and environmental footprints such as methane emission also have a good prospect but are complex to deal with. They will require more time as well as national and international collaborations. These developments involve a complex and costly phenotyping phase (data collection of traits related to the phenotype of interest). These phenotyping projects are strategic issues for selection scheme stakeholders. The genomic revolution induces other organisational changes in the breeding world with restructurings, competitions and new alliances between historical and new players. Genetics is a crucial asset in reaching a true sustainability of dairy herds and the dairy industry in the near future.

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