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Genetic selection of beef breeds in France: a scheme and a range of innovative tools supporting the beef cattle industry

INRA Prod Anim 30(2) 107-124


1 Institut de l’Elevage, 149 rue de Bercy, 75595, Paris, France
2 Institut de l’Elevage, Boulevard des Arcades, 87060, Limoges, France
3 Institut de l’Elevage, GABI, domaine de Vilvert, 78350, Jouy-en-Josas, France
4 Institut de l’Elevage, 9, allée Pierre de Fermat, 63170, Aubière, France
5 Institut de l’Elevage, 9, rue André Brouard, CS 70510, 49105, Angers, France
6 Institut de l’Elevage, 25, boulevard Léon Blum, 58000, Nevers, France
7 Allice, GABI, domaine de Vilvert, 78350, Jouy-en-Josas, France
8 GABI, AgroParisTech, INRA, Université Paris-Saclay, 78350, Jouy-en-Josas, France


The French genetic improvement organisation of beef cattle, the legacy of the French Livestock act of 1966, produces a collection of a wide range of phenotypes obtained on farm and in testing stations. With these, numerous genetic evaluations were developed, in particular evaluations based on data collected on farms called “IBOVAL”. The methodology used (with recently the inclusion of genomic information) as well as the number of traits evaluated have evolved with time. Today, adequate genetic tools are available in France to predict genetic values of breeding animals, to select them on their fattening abilities or their maternal abilities. The range of traits (at birth, weaning, post-weaning as well as reproductive and fattening abilities) allows the development of breeding goals adapted to the farmers’ needs, the breed objectives and the context of the beef industry. The selection programs using these tools do generate genetic gains. The dissemination of these gains is efficient even though the beef cattle sector has a low rate of insemination. With the introduction of genomics and the organisational changes resulting from the new European regulation as well as the difficult situation of the beef industry, these genetic tools and breeding goals will continue to evolve.

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