Mario Calus appointed new professor Animal Breeding and Genomics

May 28, 2024

The board of Wageningen University & Research has appointed Dr. ir. Mario Calus as professor of Animal Breeding and Genomics (ABG). He will succeed Martien Groenen, who will continue working for the ABG chair group as a personal professor. Calus’ appointment will be effective in September 2024.

The chair group ABG focuses on the genetic and genomic characteristics of populations. Research and education is focused on quantitative and molecular aspects of maintaining and improving characteristics of animal populations through breeding, monitoring of the genetic composition and conservation of genetic diversity of many different animal populations.

Calus aims to further integrate these different activities and extend the connection and collaboration with other research disciplines. In addition, the new professor wants to focus more on genetic research of populations of other (wild) animal species, with the aim of contributing to the preservation of biodiversity and vulnerable populations in particular.

Mario Calus

Mario Calus (1978) was partially raised on a mixed farm with dairy cattle and field crops. When he was in high school he already knew that he wanted to study Animal Sciences at Wageningen University & Research (WUR), with a specialisation in Animal Breeding.

Mario Calus

After finishing his study and PhD research he started as a researcher at Wageningen Livestock Research (WLR) to further develop genomic prediction, both on a scientific level and in terms of applying it in practice. Genomic prediction is a technique that uses DNA fingerprints to predict traits of individuals. In animal breeding this technique is used to select animals at a young age to become parents of the next generation.

Since 2006 genomic prediction is the main theme in Calus’ research, who started working for the ABG chair group in 2017. He is also involved in the public-private partnership Breed4Food, a collaboration with breeding companies that use genomic prediction in practive. Over the past 15 years, the implementation of this technique in breeding has made a significant contribution to making breeding goals more sustainable, which in turn has contributed to making the entire animal production chain more sustainable.