Selection of animals based on pedigree information alone is less reliable. Waiting for daughter performance for selection of bull is very costly and takes 8-10 years in Indian condition. Genomic Selection refers to selecting animals using information from pedigree as well as information on dense DNA markers (i.e. Single Nucleotide Polymorphism-SNP) spread across genome. This can be done at the early age of an animal and will give more accurate estimated breeding value compared to pedigree based selection.

In recent time, Genomic selection approach has emerged as a promising tool in the field of animal breeding as it enables selection of animals at younger age thus facilitates achieving faster genetic progress.

With large number of animals milk recorded in various Progeny Testing and Pedigree Selection projects, NDDB initiated its efforts to implement Genomic selection for the Cattle and Buffaloes in India during 2014 with the objective to establish suitable methodologies for selection of animals on the basis of more reliable Genomic Breeding Values (GBV) under small holder dairy system of the country.

A DNA repository from milk recorded animals of various Cattle and Buffalo breeds has been established to create huge reference population to facilitate implementation of genomic selection.

In 2015, a medium density customized chip named as “INDUSCHIP” was developed by NDDB for genotyping the indicine breeds of cattle and their crosses with technical guidance from Center for Quantitative Genetics and Genomics, Aarhus University, Denmark. Currently INDUSCHIP2 is in use with around 53K SNPs informative for various Indian cattle breeds and their crosses.

The Genomic breeding values of HF crossbred and Gir cattle using INDUSCHIP was estimated and published in 2018 and 2019, respectively. For the first time in the country, the selection of young bulls on the basis of genomic breeding value has been initiated. These genomically selected bulls for HFCB, JCB, Gir and Murrah breeds are now supplied to semen stations for faster genetic progress in various cattle and buffalo breeds.

In 2019, NDDB developed First near complete haplotype phased genome assembly of River buffaloes using tri binning approach.

Subsequently, in 2020, a medium density (59K) custom genotyping chip named as BUFFCHIP was designed with technical assistance from USDA and initiated genotyping in Buffaloes.

Using INDUSCHIP and BUFFCHIP genotypes, it is possible to know breed composition of bull calves, heifers, cows and bulls of various breeds. Also genomic breeding values of young bull calves and heifers can be estimated and their production potential can be known for early selection.

NDDB has made this facility available to farmers, semen stations and various institutions for assessment of breed composition of their individual animals and estimation of genomic breeding value (GBV) on cost basis.