Design of breeding programs with Genomic Selection (October 2017)

Organised by Wageningen Institute of Animal Sciences (WIAS)

Mon 16 October 2017 until Fri 20 October 2017

Target audience

The course is designed for PhD students and postdoctoral fellows working in animal breeding and quantitative genetics. Participants are expected to be familiar with general quantitative genetics and statistical concepts, including mixed model analyses.


Knowledge of genomic selection methodology is essential for researchers in the field of animal breeding. Genomic Selection has been implemented by large parts of the breeding industry. While the implementation of GS was quick, it was done without detailed analysis of pro’s and con’s, probably because the benefits were high. Now that the genomic selection tools have found widespread use, new questions arise related to the theory of breeding program design with this new type of information.

Aim and learning goals

The course is focussed on learning the concepts of breeding program design and the effects of applying genomic selection in breeding. Theory will be lectured and practical computer exercises will allow the participants to experiment with small datasets. During the course participants learn about the current principles of breeding program design and will be able to gain a feel for the benefits and issues related to designing a breeding program with genomic selection. The principles of breeding program design, the optimization of breeding programs with genomic selection, and the cost-benefits of genomic selection and new developments are some of the important aspects.

Entrance level

Participants should have an MSc degree in quantitative genetics or animal breeding, or equivalent knowledge. The participant must be familiar with the basic concepts of mixed model statistical analyses. This course is aimed at PhD students that are getting started with genomic selection analyses in their research or that have an interest in the methodology.

Course outline

Monday: Basics of selection theory

Tuesday: Multiple trait selection

Wednesday: Principles of breeding program design with genomic selection

Thursday: Optimizing breeding programs with genomic selection

Friday: Cost-benefit analysis of GS and new developments (until 16.00h)