Genomic workshop on livestock breeding in South Africa

February 2012

The first workshop on the use of genomics in South African livestock breeding was hosted by the Department of Animal and Wildlife Sciences in the faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences at the University of Pretoria, from the 15 to 17 February 2012. The aim of this workshop was to enhance the understanding of the application of this new and exciting technology in the livestock industry. The workshop was attended by 45 animal breeders, geneticists and postgraduate students in animal breeding from the University of Pretoria, University of the Free State, University of Stellenbosch, the Agricultural Research Council, GADI, SA Studbook, LRF and Taurus

Excellent technical talks were presented by the two international speakers, Dr Donagh Berry from Teagasc, Ireland and Dr Andre Eggen from Ilumina, France. The principles of genomic selection were discussed by them as well as examples presented of how genomic selection has been successfully implemented in countries such as Ireland, France and Scandinavia

The workshop was facilitated by Mr Elfick from Learning Strategies and the participants actively engaged in the discussions on how genomic selection can find application in the South African industry. The challenges and limitations that may be experienced were taken into account and a five step strategy was outlined. Delegates representing the organizations and institutions present agreed on the steps required for genomic selection in South Africa and made recommendations that will now be circulated to the broader livestock breeding industry and the relevant governmental organizations. A task team was appointed to spearhead the next steps required and to coordinate a collaborative effort involving all role players

It was clear from these deliberations that South African animal breeders are ready to move forward with the research and development of a genomic selection strategy for livestock breeds in South Africa

Story- UP newsroom, February 2012m