The aim of this workshop was to enhance the understanding of the application of this new and exciting technology in the livestock industry. The workshop was attended by 45 animal breeders, geneticists and postgraduate students in animal breeding from UP, University of the Free State, University of Stellenbosch, the Agricultural Research Council, GADI, SA Studbook, LRF and Taurus.
The two international speakers, Dr Donagh Berry from Teagasc (Ireland) and Dr Andre Eggen from Ilumina (France), presented excellent technical talks. They discussed the principles of genomic selection and presented examples of how genomic selection has been successfully implemented in countries such as Ireland, France and Scandinavia.
The workshop was facilitated by Mr Elfick from Learning Strategies and the participants actively engaged in the discussions on how genomic selection can find application in the South African industry. The challenges and limitations that might be experienced were taken into account and a five step strategy was outlined.
A task team representing the organisations and institutions present agreed on the steps required for genomic selection in South Africa and made recommendations that will now be circulated to the broader livestock breeding industry and the relevant governmental organisations.
It was clear from these deliberations that South African animal breeders are ready to move forward with the research and development of a genomic selection strategy for livestock breeds in South Africa.