Eminent US Scientist visits University of Stellenbosch

Prof Ignacy Misztal of the University of Georgia in Atlanta recently visited the Department of Animal Sciences at the University of Stellenbosch. Prof Misztal gained recognition for his work on dairy cattle, beef cattle and pigs. He was closely involved in research on the genetics of heat stress and reproduction in dairy cattle, pre-weaning survival in pigs and across-herd-evaluations in beef cattle. Prof Misztal visited South Africa as part of an extended study tour. During his visit he gave software demonstrations at Irene (ARC: Livestock Business Division) and at the University of Stellenbosch, while he also paid informal visits to the University of the Free State, Oudtshoorn Research Farm and the Institute for Animal Production: Elsenburg.

On 16 November 2007, Prof Misztal gave a very informative software demonstration at the Department of Animal Sciences. In the process he dealt with two algorithms for estimating genetic parameters and predicting multi-trait breeding values for livestock using Restricted Maximum Likelihood (REML) procedures. He also demonstrated the genetic analysis of threshold traits by using Gibbs sampling. Genetic correlations between normally distributed data and binary response variables can be estimated by these procedures.

Three members of the personnel and four postgraduate students at the MSc and PhD levels attended the software demonstration. All attendees experienced the informal course as very interesting and the software that was demonstrated as applicable to common livestock breeding problems experienced by them.

From left to right:
Front row: Prof Ignacy Misztal, Dr Carel Muller, Keogetsile Raphaka, Edgar Dzomba, Gail Jordaan
Second row: Willem Olivier, Anel Engelbrecht, Prof Chrisjan Cruywagen (Departmental Chairman), Prof Schalk Cloete

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