cum laude wientjes

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Yvonne Wientjes got her PhD degree with distinction

Gepubliceerd op
28 januari 2016

Yvonne Wientjes, PhD candidate at the Animal Breeding and Genomics Centre, obtained her PhD degree with distinction (cum laude), based on her thesis ‘Multi-population genomic prediction’. Yvonne did excellent research, under daily supervision of Dr. Mario Calus and promotor Prof. Roel Veerkamp. Her main conclusion is that genomic prediction can benefit from the use of another population, provided that the reference population is relatively small, both populations are closely related, and many individuals of the other population are being added.

The central research question of Yvonne's thesis was: "Can we use data from different populations, such as other breeds or lines, or populations in other countries, to improve the reliability of genomic breeding values." Recent research showed that use of genetic information from other populations could be less beneficial than previously expected based on simulations. In her thesis Yvonne examined the factors that possibly limit the usefulness of genetic information from one to the other population. She showed that the frequency and magnitude of the effects of the underlying genes are very important. Yvonne used the acquired knowledge to derive a general formula that predicts how useful genetic information from other populations is. This formula yields enables theoretical evaluation of all sorts of scenarios, and is therefore of great practical value to both animal and plant breeders to support business decisions, such as: is it beneficial to collaborate with organizations that manage other populations or should investments be mainly geared towards gathering information from their own populations.

The results have yielded important theoretical insights for quantitative genetics, and are also directly applicable for, amongst others, the breeding company CRV (that financed her research). At the same time, Yvonne was able to finish her PhD thesis in four years, while all five papers were published before her defence.
Yvonne Wientjes defended her PhD thesis on January 22 in the Aula of Wageningen University. The defence can still be viewed through WUR-TV.