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Sent: 20 November 2003 09:49
Subject: 17: Re: Cost of MAS - the biggest barrier
I am Paul Heisey, an economist at Economic Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture. From 1985-1998 I was an economist with The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT).
Another reference on the economics of MAS is:
Moreau, L., Lemarie, S., Charcosset, A. and Gallais, A. 2000. Economic efficiency of one cycle of marker-assisted selection. Crop Science 40:329-337. [Full text available from High WirePress, providing a large archive of free full-text science articles, at http://highwire.stanford.edu/ ...Moderator].
This is a synthetic, not an empirical study, I believe, covering a single cycle. But it is useful in outlining some of the analytical issues.
Economic Research Service, USDA
USDA Economic Research Service, 1800 M St., NW
Washington D.C. 20036-5831
Tel. +1-202 694-5526
Fax: +1-202 694-5774
EMail: pheisey (at) ers.usda.gov
Sent: 20 November 2003 09:59
Subject: 18: Re: MAS for livestock in developing countries
This is from Prof. Hugo Montaldo, Mexico. I have been interested in the evaluation of "new technologies" for the genetic improvement of animals.
I would be very adamant with respect to the need to build-up a sound breeding strategy and begin first using the so-called "traditional methodology" (recording of important traits and genealogy, Best Linear Unbiased Preduction (BLUP) etc.) as the only reasonable framework for using MAS in developing countries for improving animal populations. This has a very simple logic. MAS is very costly and its efficiency is still a matter of debate, moreover knowledge of the genetic control of important traits from a molecular perspective is very incomplete. Conversely, "traditional technology" is very well proven as cost effective and efficient.
This is to emphasize that use of MAS does not solve the need for choosing the right breeding objectives and does not solve the lack of reasonable breeding strategies involving breed utilization and within-breed selection. This is valid for typical productivity traits or disease resistance traits. Emphasis on MAS will be dictated by the economic importance of each trait and the probable contribution of comprehensive strategies involving MAS and other technology, including the traditional ones compared to simpler, and cheaper, options. Thus, MAS should not be regarded a a simple device in animal populations, but instead as an interacting part of much more complex strategies and decision-making processes. By sure, they are not only biological, but social, political and economic ones.
I think use of MAS due to extra costs involved should be done in a commercial framework of a national (regional) interest framework. Thus, we must clarify our perspective from the beginning, before general recommendations are made, by making case by case, comprehensive studies.
Prof. Hugo H Montaldo V
Departamento de Genética y Bioestadística
Facultad de Medicina Veterinaria y Zootecnia
Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM)
Ciudad Universitaria, México 04510, D.F.
Tel./Fax 52 55 5622 5894
Fax. 52 55 5622 5956
e-mail: hmontald (at) fmvz.unam.mx hmontal2_s (at) hotmail.com
Sent: 20 November 2003 10:11
Subject: 19: MAS in livestock - extension/traits
This is from Don Nicol, cattle breeding consultant based in Brisbane Australia but working in a number of countries. I have been associated with the commercialisation of DNA marker tests for a number of years with my client Genetic Solutions, an Australian based company that has released two beef quality direct marker tests to industry under the GeneSTAR product line.
1) The issue that I would raise is in respect of the extension to farmers of the value and use of these tests when they become available commercially. Extension agencies have traditionally supported the diffusion of genetic tools such as estimated breeding values (EBVs) and $ indexes. However, the case is different for marker tests. This is because of the complexity, "that's up to the commercialiser" arguments, perceived competition with quantitative genetic tools, faint praise or condemnation from quantitative geneticists etc etc. There is a huge educational challenge with these technologies. Who is likely to be the commercialiser of these tests in developing countries? Does extension capability exist to assist uptake and use?
2) What traits are being researched for the tropics? I am aware of work on cattle tick and internal parasite in tropical Australia, work on the slick coat gene in Florida USA. Is there a list?
P.S. I thought the background document very well written and want to know
who to acknowledge. [The appropriate reference for the document is
FAO, 2003. Molecular marker assisted selection as a potential tool for genetic improvement of crops, forest trees, livestock and fish in developing countries. Background document to conference 10 of the FAO Biotechnology Forum. http://www.fao.org/biotech/C10doc.htm...Moderator].
dnicol (at) b022.aone.net.au
Sent: 20 November 2003 11:32
Subject: 20: Re: MAS for livestock in developing countries
From Dirk-Jan de Koning, UK.
The opinion expressed by Professor Montaldo (Message 18, November 20) differs quite a bit from what I put forward in my message (nr. 13, November 19), yet I agree with him on several points:
If you can organise routine recording of production and disease traits as well as pedigree information then you can implement 'traditional' breeding methods and subsequently evaluate, on a case by case basis, whether MAS has the potential to give additional benefit.
However, in the scenario that I put forward in my message, there would be no (reliable) routine recording and the livestock is mainly kept by smallholders with only a handful of animals. MAS could then be used in the development of 'robust' breed crosses that subsequently would be introduced to the smallholders. This is more similar to the MAS efforts of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) in plants (or see, for example, the work on cotton by CIRAD in the Turin proceedings) where a large collaborative effort (including MAS) is made to develop more profitable crops for the developing world. [The paper referred to is by J-M Lacape et al. from the Centre de Coopération Internationale en Recherche Agronomique pour le Développement, Montpellier, available at http://www.fao.org/biotech/docs/Giband.pdf ...Moderator]
Hence the potential for MAS and the level at which it can be used depends on the local level of animal production. The developing countries represent a broad variety of climates and livestock systems, as well as social, economical and political agendas. Unfortunately, this conference does not allow us to look at MAS on a case by case basis and it is unavoidable that we have to resort to general statements that only apply to part of the developing countries. Rather than a commercial national/regional framework, I remain convinced that any form of MAS for the developing world will depend on heavily sponsored international collaborative efforts.
Dirk-Jan de Koning
Genetics and Biometry
Roslin, Midlothian, EH25 9PS
phone:+44 (0)131 5274460
fax: +44 (0)131 4400434
e-mail: DJ.DeKoning (at) bbsrc.ac.uk
Sent: 20 November 2003 14:00
Subject: 21: Suitability of MAS for livestock improvement in developing countries
I am Victor Olori, from Nigeria, working as a geneticist for the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation with lots of interest in livestock improvement in developing countries.
The discussion so far has been very relevant to the general question of the use or role of MAS in genetic improvement in general. There is no questioning the fact that successful application of MAS in a well structured breeding program in any developing country will yield the same benefits as in developed countries.
I find Dirk-Jan de Koning's first message (nr. 13, November 19) as particularly relevant to the question of using MAS in developing countries. As the background document to the conference indicates, using MAS in a structured breeding program is not synonymous with developing marker maps. The cooperation and links between labs and personnel in developing and developed countries is essential for the development of relevant maps for all species of interest but I think this form of cooperation is already taking place and should be encouraged irrespective of whether the technique will become widely used in the developing countries or not.
The major cost aspect in the application of MAS in a breeding program is in the genotyping of individuals, which is akin to recording under conventional breeding programs. The cost of recording is enormous and, under conventional breeding, much more animals may need to be recorded for the quantitative techniques to succeed. In straight comparison, I think the cost of genotyping the fewer animals (assuming a very effective marker is available) and the cost of recording and progeny testing (in dairy cattle, for example) will not be too far apart. My point therefore is that any developing country that can set up a successful breeding program with routine recording can, with little help, afford to introduce MAS for a few relevant traits. I agree with Dirk-Jan de Koning and others that MAS will be most relevant for some specific traits and can even be introduced in novel schemes without an elaborate breeding programs for specific traits. This is one way MAS will particularly benefit genetic improvement in the developing countries. It has potential for the integration of indigenous and exotic breeds without one polluting the good benefits of the other for both the developed and developing production environments.
So, because MAS may be a little bit more expensive should not be the only reason for thinking it is unsuitable in developing countries. Like any conventional breeding program or such endeavour, a cost benefit analysis is essential before embarking on MAS as an alternative.
So for me, the answer is YES to the question of the relevance of this technique in the developing countries. Perhaps the real question is 'can MAS speed up or jump start genetic improvement of livestock in the developing countries'. I ask this question because we still do not yet have the answer as to why, even with the well tested and trusted conventional breeding technique, genetic improvement of livestock species in the developing world is more of a myth than a reality. FAO has also been interested in this question and I believe that once we find a way to succeed in this regard, application of MAS, where it will be effective and most relevant, can also be introduced in developing countries. The absence of any real sense of the need for a genetic improvement program, especially for livestock, in most of these countries will further hinder the gains of MAS technique in these countries.
Dr. V.E. Olori
Irish Cattle Breeding Federation,
Shinagh House, Bandon,
Republic of Ireland.
Tel: +353 (23) 20220
Fax +353(23) 20229
E-Mail volori (at) icbf.com
[Regarding Victor's comments in the last paragraph concerning livestock
genetic improvement programmes in developing countries, participants might
be interested in looking at
1) the recommendations developed for, and finalised by, a symposium on "Realising sustainable breeding programmes in livestock production" conducted jointly by the World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production, and FAO on 22 August 2002 in Montpellier, France (http://dad.fao.org/en/refer/library/guidelin/7WCGALP.pdf).
2) proceedings of a workshop on "Developing breeding Strategies for lower input animal production environments", held on 22-25 September 1999 in Bella, Italy, organised by FAO and the International Committee for Animal Recording (http://dad.fao.org/en/refer/library/reports/bella.pdf) ...Moderator].
Sent: 20 November 2003 15:21
Subject: 22: MAS and other ongoing research
This is Jasper Buijs. I am Associate Expert Agricultural Biotechnology at the International Potato Center in Lima, Peru. My work involves assessing deployment pathways for transgenic potato in developing countries, addressing connected socio-economic and environmental issues.
Addressing the high costs associated with the use of MAS - although not rejecting this reality - I think we should put these costs into the perspective of other ongoing research. Many developing countries are also in the process of setting up research and regulation capacities for the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). One of the important arguments given for these activities is that "developing countries should not be lagging behind in these developments" and "benefit from the technology". In that sense MAS, of course, is not different. Capacities built for the exploitation of MAS are, at least partly, a complement to capacities needed for the development of GMOs, and vice versa. With the further advantage that plant varieties or animals bred with the aid of MAS, do not need any further safety regulation (with its associated high costs). Moreover, I think that especially developing countries could benefit from MAS, as they would be able to generate new breeding products faster and in this way appropriate key knowledge and materials.
MSc. Ing. Jasper Buijs
Associate Expert Agricultural Biotechnology
Crop Improvement and Genetic Resources Department
International Potato Center (CIP)
Apartado 1558, Lima 12, Peru
telephone: 349 6017 ext. 3063
fax: 349 5326
email: j.buijs (at) cgiar.org
Sent: 20 November 2003 16:58
Subject: 23: Genetic conditions for MAS efficiency
This is from H.L. Dulieu. I worked in the Plant Breeding Station INRA-Dijon, until 1999. I was professor of Plant Biology and Genetics at the University of Burgundy; I am presently retired.
During at least five decades, several techniques were proposed to plant breeders to facilitate their work and to accelerate the selection procedures, particularly when the generation times are particularly long : radiation and chemical mutagenesis, in vitro techniques of multiplication and embryo rescue, genetic manipulations and, since almost ten years, marker assisted selection (MAS). Luckily, the breeders did not stop using their eyes and their scrutiny to continue their important work, particularly in developing countries. However, it seems normal to search for new applications of the tools offered by the advancing biological sciences.
MAS requires very particular conditions to be efficient: I will discuss only the genetic ones.
1. The genetic nature of the character to be selected among progenies must be clearly defined: monolocus versus multilocus status, additivity versus dominance (heritability), expressivity and penetrance. This implies traditional qualities of observer of the breeder and does not replace progeny tests over F1 and F2 generations.
2. It is necessary to cover the whole genetic map of a species both with molecular markers and traits. This has been done for a very few number of species of interest. This number is increasing, namely for molecular markers. It is relatively rapid to choose two different lines (if the genetic distance between them allows us to assume many molecular differences at many loci), to cross them and study the F2 or BC1s to map a set of markers. I doubt that the characters to be selected by breeding are incorporated in the map at the same rate. [The F1 is the initial hybrid generation resulting from a cross between two parents. The F2 is the second hybrid generation, produced either by intercrossing two F1 individuals, or by self-fertilizing an F1 individual. BC1 is the first backcross generation, produced by crossing an individual with one of its parents or with the genetically equivalent organism...Moderator].
3. The nature of the markers must allow their use in crosses different from those which led to the map. Then, the specificity of the primers must be assessed by many tests over the germplasm.
4. The degree of linkage between the character and the markers must be very high, at least at the very beginning of the selection, to avoid loss of genotypes by recombination, but in the next steps of the back-cross selection, it should be interesting to select recombinants. These requirements can lead to a compromise but reduce the efficiency of the procedure.
5. If the generation time is substantial, as in forest trees, the map must be performed at the existing population level, comparing natural progenies from identified maternal parents to possible pollen parents from the population. This requires also many analyses and mathematical treatments of molecular data.
As a conclusion, I would say that MAS must not be considered as a method able to replace easily traditional selection, even if MAS remains associated with phenotypic observations (macroscopic, quantitative measures, chemical analyses, comportment, etc.). Important preliminary work on the genetic variability of the species, at both levels (molecular and phenotypic) must be made and this must be balanced with the real costs of both classical versus MAS approaches. I remain convinced that in many species of interest for developing countries, which are relatively near the wild state by their population structures and genetic richness, the best and very efficient solution remains classical plant selection. Of course, this is not the case for species that are very intensively bred and selected during several decades, which have lost their polymorphism and, thanks to neighboring species, have been the object of dense molecular mapping.
If it often believed that MAS should be used both for saving time and to reduce the numbers of individuals. I think instead that, in many cases, it is a mirage. Moreover, it is also true that MAS offers the opportunity to mobilize a lot of money without warranty of success, especially when very precise preliminary studies are lacking.
H. D. Dulieu,
6, rue des roses, 21 110-Genlis,
Email : hdulieu (at) u-bourgogne.fr