From 13 till 19 February, Wageningen University & Research Animal Breeding and Genomics (WUR-ABG) organized a course on Emerging technologies, with a focus on their use in future breeding programs. The course was organized as part of the European Graduate School of Animal Breeding and Genetics (EGS-ABG), and in collaboration with the Wageningen Graduate School of Animal Sciences (WIAS). In total 18 PhD students with more than 10 different nationalities participated.
The course consisted of 13 lectures, each dealing with a different topic. The first day started with different aspects of genomic selection and its power when applied in combination with reproduction technologies. The second day focussed mainly on the opportunities that gene editing provides, but also on related ethical aspects. The topic of the third day was large scale phenotyping, making use of cameras, bio-sensors or slaughterhouse information. During the fourth day the potential of epigenetics and the challenges to make full use of whole-genome sequence information were discussed.
Throughout the course, the students worked in groups to develop futuristic breeding programs, considering all the technologies mentioned in the course. On the last day of the course, they presented their breeding programs during the Dutch F&G connection days where more than 90 professionals working in the domain of animal breeding and genetics were present. The presentations of the students were well received.
Many thanks goes to the 13 lecturers for helping to make this a course a success: Donagh Berry (Teagasc, Ireland), Sijne van der Beek (CRV, NL), Mario Calus (WUR-ABG, NL), Anna Sonesson (Nofima, Norway), Andres Legarra (INRA, France), John Bastiaansen (WUR-ABG, NL), Jean-Stephane Joly (INRA, France), Franck Meijboom (Utrecht University, NL), Bas Rodenburg (WUR, NL), Rick van de Zedde (WUR, NL), Shai Barbut (University of Guelph, Canada), Ole Madsen (WUR-ABG, NL), and Hendrik-Jan Megens (WUR-ABG, NL).