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Genetic Progress

Producing healthy poultry genetic crosses, with balanced traits that support sustainable poultry production, is our primary goal as a breeding company. As one of the premier broiler breeder genetics companies in the world, Cobb uses scientific research, solid development goals and innovative technology to select the best chickens to ensure continuous improvement in each generation of breeding stock. To achieve our commitment to continued genetic progress for our global customers, Cobb employs a team of 19 credentialed geneticists, incorporates a diverse and highly trained supporting R&D team at each pedigree farm and we evaluate more than 55 individual traits for each pure line chicken!


  • 1 Foundation

    Since the company was started in 1916, Cobb has been dedicated to genetic progress and continuous improvement. Throughout this period, our focus on the efficiency, productivity, health and well-being of chickens has been steadfast and we’ve continuously increased the number and precision of traits involved in our selection process. Our genetics program seeks to meet the future needs of our worldwide customers by focusing on traits related to broiler and breeder health and welfare and by selecting chickens that have more robust cardiovascular function, better skeletal characteristics, and desirable welfare outcomes. We also focus on uniform body confirmation and emphasize sustainability attributes related to feed efficiency, quantity and quality of saleable meat, and hatching egg production that are important for future generations of chickens.

  • 2 Support

    Our commitment to genetic progress is supported by dedicated global R&D teams of over 160 team members who are involved in the evaluation of specific quality characteristics and traits of our pure line chickens. Teams evaluate the characteristics of individual birds and the data collected from each chicken during traditional genetic selection. Company scientists also examine the DNA profiles and familial information of the pure line chickens to assist in analyzing molecular traits. Using the estimated genetic merit of each chicken based on a combination of performance data, family history and DNA profile, Cobb’s trained geneticists select the best birds to create the next generation of chickens. We know more about the genetic history and health of our pure line chickens than most people know about their own family!

  • 3 Innovation

    Incorporating advanced technology helps us improve our selection accuracy and allows us to better understand and predict sustainability and welfare-related outcomes for breeder and broiler chickens. From touchscreen tablets to the use of non-invasive devices like ultrasound, lixiscope and pulse oximeters, our R&D teams document and analyze the health, welfare, sustainability and breeding traits of each genetic cross. Investing in our future also includes financial commitment to research partnerships with universities and tech companies to advance our ability to analyze traits, to understand our chickens, and to balance genetic progress. In addition to funding external projects and participating in livestock breeding coalitions, Cobb’s R&D team develops new equipment, evaluates health and DNA analytic tools, and assesses which new genetic cross may best meet the global expectations of our customers.

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Individual traits used for pure line genetic selection


Individual poultry selection traits related to health and welfare


Years focused on traits related to improving poultry health & welfare


Points of feed conversion improvement in last 10 years


External research projects sponsored by Cobb in last 10 years


Credentialed geneticists engaged in sustainable progress of Cobb chickens

Path to Progress

As the oldest poultry primary breeder company in the world, Cobb is very aware of how much has changed in the past 100+ years since our company was founded. In addition to a radical decrease in the number of poultry genetics companies that exist globally, there has been a tremendous increase in the expectations that poultry companies have for breeder and broiler chicken genetics. Today’s farmers not only want to raise broilers that grow efficiently, but also want chickens that have good livability, health and animal welfare characteristics. We also recognize that the supply chain is much more connected and involved in poultry production now and this impacts processor expectations for quality meat yield and uniform broiler size to meet retail and restaurant specifications.

RD Efficiency Reproduction Health Welfare Selection v3

Our pathway to progress in the last 50 years has focused on providing quality genetic stock to poultry companies from our expansive network of high-quality breeding flocks as we aim to meet farmer needs and supply chain meat expectations. While we have a proven track record of improvements in broiler efficiency (feed conversion), meat yield (saleable carcass yield and white meat quality) and breeder efficiency (egg production and hatchability) with our standard genetic crosses, we’ve strategically acquired unique genetic lines from smaller poultry breeding companies to preserve these heritage breeds. Acquisition and incorporation of these new genetics in Cobb’s program and investment in scientific preservation of other genetic lines allows the company to prevent in-breeding and to safeguard future genetic options for the broiler sector. These genetic lines have also allowed Cobb to expand the scope and diversity of broiler crosses that we can offer to the global poultry industry. The development of new broiler crosses is truly a long-range prospect and one that involves incredible precision to evaluate genetic merit, a 10-to-15-year vision of what customers expect in the global marketplace, and attention to a myriad of production and breeding details as new crosses are evaluated for sustainable poultry breeding.

Our genetic goals are lofty but will have a measurable impact on more sustainable production in the future:

  • Improve broiler skeletal and leg health
  • Enhance heart and lung efficiency
  • Improve robustness with better livability
  • Improve growth, feed conversion and total yields
  • Reduce impact of poultry by reducing waste and optimize feed and water uptake

Cobb Cares in Action

Learn how these Cobb team members positively impact our genetic progress

cobb cares 3dprinting

Bryson Cleveland (North America)

Role: Statistician

Cobb TM since 2019

Action: Provides expertise toward the genetic improvement of Cobb products via quality control analyses of millions of genetic datapoints, including parentage testing of Cobb’s pedigree populations; designs and creates technology solutions for the collection of performance data from Cobb broilers.

CCIA genetics manouchehr

Manouchehr Katanbaf, PhD (North America)

Role: Geneticist

Cobb TM since 1994

Action: Provides genetic expertise for a pedigree farm complex including direct oversight of the evaluation of chickens and analysis of data for effective R&D program execution; leads teams of trained farm staff who collect individual bird phenotypes as part of the genetic assessment of process to ensure precise genetic selection decisions can be completed.

cobb team Alice Guo

Alice Guo (North America)

Role: Senior Data Scientist

Cobb TM since 2016

Action: Conducts statistical evaluation of data to track genetic progress and coordinates objective analysis of global poultry data.

CCIA Genetics Ron Okimoto

Ron Okimoto, PhD (North America)

Role: Geneticist

Cobb TM since 2005

Action: Provides molecular and qualitative genetic expertise for Cobb breeds; involved in maintaining the health, welfare and commercial viability of genetic lines via advances in research and continued development of the poultry selection program.

CCIA Genetics Rachel Hawken

Rachel Hawken, PhD (North America)

Role: Senior Director of Genetics

Cobb TM since 2011

Action: Explores novel genomic and statistical genetic approaches, engages in innovate technologies and collaborates with external researchers; leads a team who focus on the development of genetic tools to maintain a competitive product for the broiler breeding industry.

CCIA genetics Arthur Fernandes v2

Arthur Fernandes, PhD (North America)

Role: Geneticist

Cobb TM since 2020

Action: Provides genetic expertise in the evaluation and prediction of broiler and breeder performance; designs, creates and evaluates new high-throughput technology solutions toward the collection of performance characteristics of Cobb pedigree chicken flocks.

CCIA genetics Fernando Lopez

Fernando Lopes, PhD (North America)

Role: Geneticist

Cobb TM since 2019

Action: Provides genetic expertise in the evaluation and prediction of broiler and breeder performance; creates programs, dashboards and analytical tools to enable R&D team members to view data, troubleshoot technology issues and collect data from pedigree farms.

CCIA Genetics Sriram Krishnamoorthy

Sriram Krishna, PhD (North America)

Role: Geneticist 

Cobb TM since 2012

Action: Provides genetic expertise for a pedigree farm complex including direct oversight of the evaluation of chickens and analysis of data for effective R&D program execution; leads teams of trained farm staff who collect individual bird phenotypes as part of the genetic assessment of process to ensure precise genetic selection decisions can be completed.

CCIA genetics vivian

Vivien Breen, PhD (North America)

Role: Geneticist 

Cobb TM since 2016

Action: Leads a team of statistical geneticists to achieve maximum balanced genetic progress of Cobb pure lines; explores new and traditional genomic and statistical genetic approaches to identify superior breeders in Cobb pedigree flocks.

Randy Borg

Randy Borg, PhD (North America)

Role: Director of Product Testing 

Cobb TM since 2008

Action: Directs a data collection team responsible for executing internal breeder and broiler trials to support breeding program decisions, new product development and commercial product benchmarking; leads a technical team focused on developing new techniques and technology for capturing growth, reproduction and welfare data of Cobb chickens.

Life at Cobb

What Cobb Does

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What’s hatching?

Learn about our investments in research, development and partnerships to advance poultry genetics



Cobb has adopted Code EFFABAR, initiated by EFFAB (European Forum of Farm Animal Breeders), and has received Code EFABAR’s certificate for sustainable breeding. This demonstrates Cobb’s commitment to responsible breeding and best practices for sustainability in the field of livestock breeding.

Breed 4 Food image


Cobb is honored to be part of the Breed 4 Food consortium that is dedicated to research and innovation in livestock genetics. Recently, Cobb collaborated with poultry science and welfare researchers from Wageningen University to develop a novel tracking system for monitoring individual broiler activity. This partnership and collaborative research focus highlight the company’s focus on making a difference for the UN SDG-9 (Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure).

Healthy Birds R and D CVI Lixiscope 2


Over half of the genetic traits utilized in the Cobb selection program are related to the health and welfare of chickens. To enhance our focus on continuous improvement in leg health and welfare outcomes of Cobb genetic stock, we use a non-invasive device called a lixicope that enables us to evaluate and visualize the skeletal structure of pure line chickens. Incorporating this innovative technology into our routine selection process allows us to improve skeletal health and mobility of each generation of chickens.

WH genetics roslin logo


Researchers from the Roslin Institute and Cobb are collaborating to address global food security. Scientific studies range from innovative ways to improve avian health to the preservation of poultry genomes. These ongoing projects focus on technologies to ensure that future biodiversity of breeding stock will be safeguarded to help meet the growing global demand for animal protein. In 2021, Roslin Institute scientists and Cobb were winners of the Powerful Partnership Award at the Scottish Knowledge Exchange Awards that recognized success through effective teamwork to support poultry research.

WH genetic progress tech investment


Cobb is investing in technology solutions to enhance the use of digital devices that can be used for screening bird health. The use of digital devices is key to Cobb geneticists as it allows for accuracy and efficiency in data collection and analysis. Through the use of 3D printers, 3D scanners and sensor technologies, Cobb’s continued investment in technology is advancing genetic progress.