Genomic selection applications under simulation

Project facts

Project promoter
Complutense University of Madrid
Project Number:
Target groups
Doctoral students, post-doctoral fellows and researchers,
Researchers or scientists
Initial project cost:
Final project cost:
From EEA Grants:
€ 5,146
The project is carried out in:


The development of SNP high density panels has provided a new aspect in the genetic improvement of livestock species, increasing the accuracy and the genetic response and decreasing the generation interval.The objective of the project is to perform genomic selection methods under simulation to apply them in breeding programs. The project expected to achieve the enough knowledge about genomic selection to apply it in Spanish Livestock breeds. The partnership will be performed simulations in order to determine the density of marker, effective population size and the size of population that best perform the genomic selection. The project expected to benefit the breeders, the breeder associations and the scientific community. Dr Meuwissen,from the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (Norway) acting as donor partner, was the first person involved in the methodology proposed to work in. Since 2001 he has been developing new methods to solve the complex mathematical models to attain accuracy results using genomic selection. The Project Promoter will benefit of his strong experience and it will be possible to collaborate to apply genomic selection methods.

Summary of project results

The use of new techniques of selection in breeding programs is necessary in order to maximize the genetic progress in livestock breeds. During the project Genomic Selection (GS) technique has been applied using data from a Spanish Horse Breed (Spanish Arabian horse). Sports horse breeding programs are characterized by long generation intervals and suboptimal selection intensities. In the project, a traditional BLUP evaluation using pedigree and phenotypes and a GBLUP evaluation using phenotypes and genotypes were performed. Both methods were compared using the accuracies between predicted breeding values and true breeding values. Partners concluded that the structure of the Spanish Arab Horse population is appropriate to attain reliable breeding values using genomic data. Applying GS could reduce the generation interval, is useful to focus on lowly heritable functional traits and may help to preselect the males before being castrated. The beneficiary is involved in most horse breeding programs in Spain. During the stay, beneficiary attempted several seminars and workshops. The knowledge acquired will be extrapolated to Spanish breeds as far as possible.

Summary of bilateral results

The Institute Animal and Aquacultural Sciences (IHA) in NMBU is recognized as a leading international learning institute focused on higher education in animal and agricultural sciences. Since 2001 Dr Meuwissen has been developing new methods to solve the complex mathematical models to attain accurate results using genomic selection. The relation between the beneficiary and the host institution has been consolidated. Scientific papers are under preparation, on the important field of conservation genetics and breeding; relationship among partners is now including now other researchers at the host institution. Besides, some researchers from IHA are interested in some research lines that the research group of the beneficiary is developing at Complutense University in Madrid, such as the selection for decreasing the environmental genetic variance in birth weight in mice (canalisation). At Complutense University, they are carrying out an experiment to be extrapolated in multiparous mamals; here partners have established a collaboration to apply this methodology in a Norwegian breed sheep.