There has be so much talk lately, The Bullvine included, about how much the dairy breeding world has changed since the introduction of Genomics, that it has me thinking, “What if genomics doesn’t pan out. What if it doesn’t work as well as predicted?”
History is full of trends and inventions that the world thought would be amazing that in the end seemed nothing more than hype. In recent history there has been foursquare (location based social network) and the Snuggie that, due to great marketing and an audience starved for something new, saw immediate rapid growth but lacked staying power. Are genomics no better than the Snuggie?
While I must admit, I am sure there has been way more research and development behind genomics than there was behind the Snuggie, there are some significant areas that we have had to assume as musts that may turn out to bite us in the butt. Such as:
- Not a Perfect Science
Because genomics are so new, this means that we have to operate on a number of assumptions. As time goes on and more and more animals are tested, I am sure the accuracy will improve.
- Limited Data
While the ability to have genetic evaluations and recording systems provides genomics the ability to more accurately predict genetics merit far ahead of genomics in other animals or humans, it’s still in its infancy. As more and more cattle are tested there will be more and more data to work from providing geneticists with greater accuracy in the systems they produce.
- Hot House Effect
While even we have written about how genomics has removed the hothouse effect (Has Genomics Knocked Out Hot House Herds?), does it really mean that it has been removed, or maybe it has just changed the game? Maybe “shady” breeders just need to think of new ways to work the new system.
Is It Genomics or Is It You?
History is littered with wide scale aversion to new, disruptive technologies. Thomas Edison turned down the radio because it had no commercial value; Western Union turned down the telephone because management thought ‘it will never be more than a toy’. Can you believe that Thomas J. Watson Sr., founder and head of IBM, turned down the computer; and Kodak turned down the Xerox copier. This makes me think of how many old school breeders are pissing on genomics (Old School Dairy Breeders – STOP PISSING ON GENOMICS) maybe more because of fear of change, than anything else.
May be you should also stop listening to the radio, talking on the telephone or taking pictures? Now tell me how many cattle you’ll be marketing?
The Bullvine Bottom Line
There are no guarantees in life (well, I guess I should say with the exceptions of death, taxes) and genomics is no different. Genomics is not a perfect science, yet. However, it does have a very sound scientific basis that, as time goes on, can be refined and enhanced. For those who are afraid of genomics I ask you, are you afraid of genomics, or are you afraid of change?
Not sure what all this hype about genomics is all about?
Want to learn what it is and what it means to your breeding program?