PhD Graduates

We are proud to announce the graduations and upcoming defences of Animal Breeding & Genomics PhD candidates.

- Latest update: August 2021 -

Lisanne Verschuren  

On Friday 10 September 2021 at 16:00, Lisanne Verschuren will defend her thesis entitled ‘Improving feed efficiency in pigs: bridging genetics and nutrition’.


Both geneticists and nutritionists aim to increase feed efficiency in grower-finisher pigs, as feed comprises the main cost of production. Feed efficiency is commonly defined as the ratio between feed intake and growth performance or meat yield, but the variation in feed intake not related to production traits is poorly described, and only the sum of it is known as residual feed intake.

This thesis investigated traits explaining variation in individual feed efficiency in grower-finisher pigs, and their potential to develop more effective genetic and nutritional strategies to improve feed efficiency. Faecal nutrient digestibility and nitrogen efficiency are potential new traits for genetic selection, whereas faecal microbiota and blood metabolite profiles are good phenotypic predictors of current feed efficiency traits. Measuring the investigated traits can also be used for precision livestock feeding on farm level, and combined with estimated breeding values, precision livestock feeding can bridge genetics and nutrition.

Siyuan Xing

On Wednesday 13 October 2021 at 11:00, Siyuan Xing will defend his thesis entitled ‘Differential Deposition of Intramuscular and Abdominal Fat in Chicken’.


Domesticated animal meat production and quality are closely related to muscle growth and fat deposition. Fat deposition is determined by adipocyte differentiation and development. Fatness related genes and the regulation of their expression play an important role in fat deposition.

This thesis describes chicken breast muscle intramuscular fat (IMF) and abdominal fat (AF) deposition during development. Gene expression profiles in breast muscle, liver, and abdominal fat are provided. By using transcriptome analyses to obtain new insights into the correlation between gene expression and fat in chickens, new fatness related candidate genes were identified. The new understanding of gene expression and chicken fat deposition can potentially be used in chicken breeding. A new chicken genotyping array was also developed, which can be used for fatness traits selection.