Breeding Programme Modelling with AlphaSimR

19 September, 2022

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General Information

About this course

This online course will equip participants with an understanding of computer modelling of breeding programmes to enhance genetic improvements in agriculture. The modelling is done through the AlphaSimR package.

The package provides a set of functions that represent breeding activities. The combination of these functions in an R script allows the modelling of simple and arbitrarily complex breeding programmes. It also allows evaluation of the effects of alternative breeding scenarios on the rate of genetic improvement and other key performance indicators.

The course is taught by experts in the field and is applicable to a range of breeding programmes as demonstrated through local and global case studies.

What you’ll learn

1) Recall the key steps in setting up and designing a computer (in-silico) breeding programme to simulate and study a chosen population and understand the objectives that the in-silico breeding programme is being tailored to address.

2) Apply and build a breeding programme with AlphaSimR and use it to simulate and analyse a range of scenarios for a chosen population using an online R platform, which allows participants to access, manipulate, and run code.

3) Evaluate different breeding scenarios best suited to different species, populations, and available resources. Use information from the course to create a breeding programme which meets these objectives and derive tangible interpretations based on the simulation results.


Week 1: Introduction to breeding programme modelling

Week 2: Relationship between DNA & traits

Week 3: DNA Lottery

Week 4: Response to selection

Week 5: Modelling complex breeding programmes

Meeting organisers:


Course instructors:

Gregor Gorjanc – Group leader at The Roslin Institute at University of Edinburgh

Ivan Pocrnic – Core Scientist (Research Fellow) at University of Edinburgh

Steph Smith – Teaching Fellow at University of Edinburgh

Laura Strachan – PhD student at University of Edinburgh

Gabriela M. Fortuna – PhD student at University of Edinburgh