A NEW genetic index will be published this month that will help UK farmers breed dairy cows with better resistance to bovine tuberculosis (bTB). TB Advantage, an index developed following extensive research undertaken by the University of Edinburgh, Roslin Institute and Scotland's Rural College (SRUC), will give an indication of an animal's genetic susceptibility to bTB, highlighting those which may be more prone to infection or - at the other extreme - those which have a higher degree of resistance to the disease. Consequently, by selecting bulls with a high score for TB Advantage, farmers will be able to breed better resistance into their herds, which - like all genetic improvement - will accumulate over the generations leading to long-term benefits. Used alongside existing bTB control measures - including high levels of biosecurity, protecting cattle against infected wildlife and routinely monitoring cattle for the disease - the index is expected to play a part in the plan to eradicate bTB from UK farming. The first genetic index in the world to be developed to help farmers breed better resistance to bTB into their herds, TB Advantage will be expressed on a scale which typically runs from -3 to +3, similar to many genetic indexes farmers are familiar with using.