The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a consent order surrounding the restriction of competition related to genomic testing. This dates back to the initial release of genomic predicted transmitting ability (GPTA) figures in 2008 and a cooperative research development agreement that the National Association of Animal Breeders (NAAB) forged with USDA in 2006 while funding research on genomics.
The parameters of the consent order filed by FTC are as follows:
1. That NAAB stop restraining the ability of its members to obtain, disclose, provide, use, or sell any technology or information from research that the party is associated with or funds.
2. FTC barred the association from restraining competition related to pricing among its members.
3. NAAB is required to implement an antitrust compliance program.
These orders address the actions of NAAB from 2008 to February 2013 when the organization, by their agreement with USDA, barred outside participation in male genomic testing. Additionally, during that time, parties were required to share ownership in any bulls that they were receiving testing information on.
Through this process, NAAB agreed to the consent order while admitting no wrongdoing. The agreement is open for public comment through September 19, 2017, at which time FTC will decide whether to make the consent order final.
The National Association of Animal Breeders is a trade organization that represents artificial insemination organizations with interests in dairy and beef genetics. Genomic predictions can be calculated by studying and evaluating an animal’s DNA. To find out more about the ruling and its implications click here.