Wagyu Genetics

With a limited supply of Wagyu genetics outside Japan it is important to understand the merit of our Foundation Bulls, but also establish new Sires and Dams for generations to come.

In the period of the late 1980s through to the 1990s, a window of opportunity to secure Japanese Black Wagyu genetics became available. In all, around 221 animals were shipped live to the US, along with genetics; with the majority arriving on Australian shores facilitated by our industry’s early pioneers. The Japanese government, unhappy with the events, closed the doors to export of Wagyu genetics. There will be no more.


An early adopter of BREEDPLAN, the Australian Wagyu Association has capitalised on the application to provide greater detail on registered Wagyu genetics for the development of the breed, mating predictions and genetic diversity for Fullblood Wagyu.

BREEDPLAN is a proven genetic evaluation system that uses pedigree, performance data and genomic information to determine a range of valuable Wagyu genetic breeding and production traits.

Wagyu BREEDPLAN is updated every month with new animals, performance data to deliver estimated breeding values (EBVs) for:

  • Maternal traits such as milking, calving ease, birth weights
  • Growth weights at 200, 400 and 600 days
  • Carcase traits such as marble score, marble fineness, ribeye area, yield
  • Multi-trait selection indexes to improve profitability

Genetic conditions and testing

Why collect Wagyu Genetics information

Genetic testing for Wagyu Parent Verification as well as understanding breeding within Fullblood herds minimises the risks associated with inbreeding.

To register cattle with the Association, all animals must be DNA tested using a tissue sample and you must be a registered member of the Association.

Crossbred Wagyu Test

The AWA has developed a genomic test to measure Japanese Black Wagyu genetics in non-pedigree crossbred animals. The Crossbred Wagyu Test (CWT) is intended to help the supply chain determine the potential of individual cattle to produce a ‘genuine Wagyu’ eating experience, prior to induction onto feed.

Crossbred Wagyu Tests are designed to give the level of Wagyu content and may require additional time to complete once the AWA receives the initial results from the laboratory.

Recessive and Poll Genes

All breeds of cattle, including Wagyu, are prone to undesirable genetic conditions. Advances in molecular genetics have facilitated the development of DNA tests for their management. Breed societies are at the forefront of the development of strategies to manage genetic conditions and seedstock members are leading the industry with their uptake of this technology.

The key inherited recessive genetic conditions in Wagyu:

  • Spherocystosis,
  • Chediak Higashi Syndrome,
  • Claudin 16 Deficiency,
  • Factor XI Deficiency and
  • IARS Disorder

IARS Disorder has now been analysed for the Top 25 Foundation Sires and available to view with other genetic conditions.

Testing for the IARS Disorder is now available with the AWA. Read more

Polled Purebred Wagyu have been developed through outcrossing to other breeds to introgress the dominant celtic polled allele. Carrying one copy of this allele imparts the polled phenotype. However, short detached horn-like scurs can still develop.

Important Notice and Disclaimer

It is very important that you appreciate when viewing the AWA database that the information contained on the AWA database, including but not limited to pedigree, DNA information, Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) and Index values, is based on data supplied by members and/or third parties.

Whilst every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the information reported through AWA, AWA officers and employees assume no responsibility for its content, use or interpretation. AWA disclaims all liability (including without limitation, liability in negligence) for all expenses, losses, damages and costs you may incur as a result of the use by you of the data on this AWA database and the information supplied by ABRI and AGBU being inaccurate or incomplete in any way for any reason.

Regarding EBVs and Index values, it is very important to appreciate, and you need to be aware that:

  • EBVs are derived using Wagyu Single Step BREEDPLAN technology developed independently by the Animal Genetics and Breeding Unit (AGBU), using the information contained within the AWA database.
  • AGBU is a joint venture of NSW Department of Primary Industries and the University of New England, which receives funding for this purpose from Meat and Livestock Australia Limited.
  • AWA relies solely on advice provided by AGBU and ABRI in accepting Wagyu Single Step BREEDPLAN software.
  • EBVs published in Wagyu Single Step BREEDPLAN are estimates of genetic potential of individual animals and may not reflect the raw animal phenotype.
  • EBVs can only be directly compared to other EBVs calculated in the same monthly Wagyu Group BREEDPLAN analysis.

Regarding pedigree and DNA testing results submitted to the AWA, it is very important to appreciate, and you need to be aware that:

  • Pedigree and DNA data submitted and supplied to AWA may have errors in it which cannot be detected without further DNA testing.
  • Technology may have advanced since a particular test was undertaken so that previous inaccuracies which were not detectable are now able to be detected by current testing technology.
  • AWA estimates that less than 1% of the pedigree entries, ownership or breeding details in the AWA Herdbook may have errors or which may be misleading. For this reason, users ought to consider if they need to obtain independent testing of the relevant animal (if possible) to ensure that the data is accurate.

Regarding prefectural content, it is very important to appreciate, and you need to be aware that:

  • Prefectural content is based on the estimation of prefectural origin from Japanese breeding records of 201 foundation sires and 168 foundation dams.  As genotype-based parent verification is not used in Japan, and full Japanese registration certificates are not available for all foundation animals, exact prefectural composition for these sires and dams cannot be validated.
  • The calculation of prefectural content for Australian Herdbook animals relies on the accuracy of pedigree records and DNA samples provided by AWA members.
  • The reporting of prefectural content for animals within the AWA Herdbook relies on the calculation provided by ABRI.

If you consider that you do not understand or appreciate the nature and extent of the data provided on this website or the EBVs of a particular animal, then AWA strongly recommends that you seek independent expert advice.