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AABNet Inaugural Training


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African Animal Breeding Network was established in 2020 to focus on the application of tools, technologies and innovations to drive animal breeding in support of sustainable livestock genetic improvement in Africa. AABNet seeks to support professionals from the animal breeding industry, academia, government agencies, research organizations, farmers organizations, educators and graduate students in Africa under its core objective of developing capacity in animal breeding (with a particular emphasis on animal quantitative genetics and genomics).

The AABNet inaugural training (14th February – 11th March, 2022) is a joint initiative of the Centre for Tropical Livestock Genetics and Health (CTLGH), with financial support from the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), The Roslin Institute, Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), the African Dairy Genetic Gains (ADGG), International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), and the Centre of Excellence for Livestock, Innovation and Business (CoELIB, Egerton University).

Leading experts affiliated with CoELIB - Egerton University, Centre for Tropical Livestock Genetics and Health (CTLGH), Emerge Centre for Innovation-Africa, University of Hohenheim, Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR), ILRI, University of Georgia (UGA) and other august institutions will train and mentor selected participants in animal quantitative genetics and genomics.

Workshop Overview

With the expected population increase, demand and consumption of animal protein are likely to increase. Genetic improvement of farm animals is one of the strategies used to improve overall productivity and also maintain genetic diversity for future generations. The application of fundamental population and quantitative genetics are principles for the basics of genetic improvement. Integration of molecular biology and artificial intelligence principles with conventional methods implies that genetic progress can be accelerated.

The successful implementation of animal breeding programs in Africa continues to be slow due to the lack of required human capacity. In addition, the use of modern implementation tools such as genome breeding values for traits important to the climatic and socio-cultural conditions in Africa has not been adequately addressed. Several animal breeding educators and researchers use outdated methodologies. Most of them also lack access to some of the modern analytical tools for large animal breeding data. The training course seeks. to address the gaps in knowledge and skills in methodologies in animal quantitative genetics, genomics and data science to increase the capacity of African scientists and institutions to conduct research and/or implement national animal improvement programs in Africa.

The workshop will provide animal breeding educators and researchers from Africa with the working knowledge of modern state-of-the-art methods in animal quantitative genetics, genomics and data science applied to address technology gaps in their teaching and genetic improvement research and implementation programs. Selected applicants will attend an intensive 4-week training course comprising lectures and hands-on practical training in population genetics, mixed linear models, variance components, estimation of genome breeding values, genome organization, GWAS, selection principles, genomic selection among other topics. Participants will also be taught practical programming skills and the use of current software. Participants will be assigned to small groups to design a genetic improvement strategy.

Training Approach

The training will take the form of classroom lectures, extensive hands-on practice, group discussions, and experience sharing by participants. Pre- and post-training evaluations and further engagements will be conducted by other participants and trainers.

Eligibility Criteria

Applicants who need additional skills in quantitative genetics, selection, breeding strategies and genomics to support their ongoing teaching and research. Priority will be given to candidates with field animal breeding data, and extensive data for modelling. Endorsement by applicant’s home institutions through a letter of nomination/recommendation from heads of department or institution heads. The call targets candidates from all African countries. Women candidates are encouraged to apply.

Key dates/Information

Application should include:

1. A one-page cover letter including a justification statement for participating and a one-page CV
2. Indicate on your CV whether you have pedigreed data and/or extensive data for modeling
3. Recommendation or nomination letter

A Laptop with the following minimum systems specifications is required for effective participation in the training: Windows 8 (preferably Windows 10), 64-bits, 4GB of Ram (preferably 8GB of Ram).

Basic understanding of English and some quantitative skills are required.
Successful applicants will be notified by 10th January, 2022
Workshop Dates: 14th February – 11th March, 2022
All expenses including flight and accommodation will be covered for participants.

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