|Francesco Tiezzi Mazzoni Della Stella Maestri
The commission on Animal Genetics addresses all questions regarding the genetic mechanisms underlying performance, phenotype and behavior of farm animals, and also all aspects of how these trait complexes can be modified through means of breeding. Although the general focus of the Animal Genetics commission is on methodological aspects, applications to all domesticated animal species are broadly covered. Also, there are strong interdisciplinary interactions and frequent joint sessions with other commissions addressing the core disciplines, such as physiology, nutrition, or animal health and welfare.
The sessions organized by the Animal Genetics commission are generally well attended which makes the annual EAAP conference the most relevant annual scientific meeting for researchers working in the field of (quantitive) animal genetics and breeding in Europe, with an increasing interest and participation of non-European scientists.
The scope of the commission on Animal Genetics is best reflected by the range of topics covered in the sessions organized at the annual EAAP meetings. Presently, those topics are mostly from the following areas:
- Statistical methods to dissect the genetic background of complex traits, based on modern approaches like high-throughput genotyping and phenotyping, whole genome sequencing, whole genome expression analyses, systems biology etc. and including both additive and non-additive genetic mechanisms with an increasing focus on epigenetics and metagenomics.
- Assessing and conserving the genetic diversity in farm animal populations, including population genomics approaches, optimal design of conservation programs, and the interface of farm animal biodiversity and societal needs and expectations.
- Estimation of genetic parameters and breeding values for all kinds of traits (including longitudinal traits, discrete phenotypes, group phenotypes etc.) with a current emphasis on including genomic information, and addressing both methodological and computational issues.
- Optimum design of breeding programs, including economic and organizational aspects of animal breeding as well as maintenance of genetic diversity in populations under strong selection and ethical concerns.
- Novel traits and trait complexes, often related to health and behavior, animal welfare, resource efficiency, product composition and quality, emission of climate-affecting gases, etc. This comprises both novel approaches to phenotyping such traits as well as genetic analyses and approaches to include such traits in complex breeding goals.
While we aim at having some of the top scientists in the respective field as invited speakers for a given topic, we also provide substantial room for presentations of early career scientists, including a newly established competition for the best presentation of younger colleagues.
The Animal Genetics commission hosts the EAAP working group on Animal Genetic Resources, which regularly organizes well-attended sessions at the annual EAAP meeting.
Also, the working group on Farm Animal Genetic Resources is attached to the Animal Genetics commission.