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Neogen launches first crossbred beef heterosis test

Heterosis is the tendency of a crossbred animal to show traits superior to those of its purebred parents.

Neogen Corp. announced Jan. 7 that it has released Igenity + Envigor — the first genetic test in the beef industry that measures heterosis in crossbred cattle.

Heterosis is the tendency of a crossbred animal to show traits superior to those of its purebred parents.

"Envigor is an important release for us as it represents many years of research and planning to create a tool that helps commercial producers get the most out of their crossbreeding programs," said Neogen vice president of agrigenomics Dr. Stewart Bauck. "Igenity + Envigor will provide producers with an avenue to select better replacements and make genetic progress in traits of relevance to their operations."

Envigor adds several new features to Neogen's existing Igenity Beef platform. In addition to the 16 traits reported with Igenity Beef, Envigor provides an estimate of heterosis in crossbred cattle on a scale from one to 10, the company said, noting that a higher score indicates increased heterosis.

"Envigor is based on characterizing genomic data of relevant U.S. breeds, with breed composition placed into a retained heterosis formula," Neogen beef product manager Dr. Jamie Courter said. "Good crossbreeding programs have proven that heterosis leads to increased fertility, lower cull rates, more pounds weaned per cow exposed and greater feed efficiency. Rather than replace an effective crossbreeding program on its own, Envigor will help ranch owners make more informed decisions."

Analysis by Neogen's research and development team has found that a one-score-increase in Envigor leads to a 4% increase in the probability of a heifer getting pregnant alongside a 4% increase in her likelihood to stay in the herd for six years, the company said. Both are critical traits regarding the bottom-line-impacting costs of raising replacement heifers.

"Envigor represents Neogen's commitment to partner with commercial cattlemen to deliver a total genomic solution for their herd," Bauck said. "We are solely focused on providing the best tools that continue to drive genetic progress, and the commercial producer, forward."

Neogen develops and markets products dedicated to food and animal safety. The company's Food Safety Division markets culture media and diagnostic test kits to detect foodborne bacteria, natural toxins, food allergens, drug residues, plant diseases and sanitation concerns. Neogen's Animal Safety Division is a leader in the development of animal genomics along with the manufacturing and distribution of a variety of animal healthcare products, including diagnostics, pharmaceuticals, veterinary instruments, wound care and disinfectants.

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