New mate allocation strategies to accelerate genetic gain in agricultural species

This Earmarked Scholarship project is aligned with a recently awarded Category 1 research grant. It offers you the opportunity to work with leading researchers and contribute to large projects of national significance.

Supervisor – Dr Kai Voss-Felsk.vossfels@uq.edu.au

In crop and livestock breeding, combining numerous desirable alleles for important agronomic traits, such as disease resistance, drought and heat tolerance, end-use quality and high yield potential in the shortest possible time remains a major challenge. Because of the number of alleles that need to be considered for these traits, the number of possible mating combinations increases exponentially. This projects aims to develop novel strategies that enable breeders to design improved breeding programs via more efficient mate allocations, ultimately contributing to substantially increasing the rate of genetic gain. To address this, an integrated approach will be used that combines computer simulations with linear programming and evolutionary computing which are widely used for solving highly combinatorial problems. Using large scale public and commercial data sets we will evaluate the decrease in germplasm development time that can be achieved with this approach compared to traditional breeding approaches.

The successful applicant will enrol through the Queensland Alliance for Agriculture & Food Innovation (QAAFI).

Preferred educational background

Applications will be judged on a competitive basis taking into account the applicant’s previous academic record, publication record, honours and awards, and employment history.

A working knowledge of applied statistical genetics would be of benefit to someone working on this project.

The applicant will demonstrate academic achievement in the field(s) of quantitative genetics and the potential for scholastic success.

A background or knowledge of animal or plant breeding is highly desirable.

*The successful candidate must commence by Research Quarter 3, 2021. You should apply at least 3 months prior to the research quarter commencement date. International applicants may need to apply much earlier for visa reasons.

Apply now