Small Stock Genomics Information Day and Genomics Workshop

Presented by

South African Sheep Genomics Working Group


Federation of Small Stock Breeders’ Societies

5 November 2014


Grootfontein Agricultural Development Institute


There are still many questions asked by role-players in the small stock industry about the application of genomic selection in the small stock industry.

Genomic technologies have an increasing influence on animal breeding and genetics and genomic selection has been widely applied in some overseas countries in the dairy and beef cattle industries. Genomic selection could greatly benefit the South African sheep industry; especially as far as hard-to-measure traits (like reproduction, disease resistance and meat quality) are concerned. Before genomic selection could be applied in any industry, large numbers of animals with accurate production records and biological samples (Blood or DNA) should be available. These animals should also be representative of the current South African sheep genepool. Although experimental flocks are an excellent resource of animals with accurate records, especially of traits not generally recorded in industry, samples from many industry animals will also be required to ensure accurate and representative results.

Collaboration between government, industry and research partners will be necessary to ensure sufficient funds, resources and capacity for such an extensive project. Researchers from Grootfontein Agricultural Development Institute, University of Pretoria, University of Stellenbosch and Western Cape Department of Agriculture have already discussed the research required for the implementation of genomic selection in the South African sheep industry and the steps needed to achieve this goal.

The role of every industry partner is essential in achieving success with this project. A genomics information day will therefore take place at Grootfontein Agricultural Development Institute in Middelburg on 5 November 2014, which will focus on explaining this new technology and its possible application. All industry role-players, stud breeders and commercial producers are invited to attend the day, which will be presented in collaboration with the Federation of Small Stock Breeders’ Societies.

Thereafter a workshop aimed at the individual sheep breeder’s societies will be held on 11 November 2014 as part of the agenda of the meeting of the Federation of Small Stock Breeders’ Societies. Here the role and commitment of the industry and breed societies in research and implementation of genomic selection in the South African sheep industry will be discussed.



Dr Gretha Snyman
Tel no.: 049 802 6608


Dr Willem Olivier
Tel no.: 049 802 6620


Dr Buks Olivier
Tel no.: 021 808 5220


Mnr Jan Vosloo
Tel no.: 051-522 6827


Small Stock Genomics Information Day

5 November 2014 at 09:00

Grootfontein Agricultural Development Institute

Merino Hall


09:00   Registration, Coffee and Tea (Registration fee R100)

09:30   Welcome and opening

09:50   The ABC of Genomics (Background on genomics). Dr Carina Visser

10:10   Genomic selection (What is genomic selection and how could we implement it?). Dr Estie Van Marle-Köster 

10:30   Advantages of genomic selection for the South Africa small stock industry. Dr Schalk Cloete

10:50   Tea

11:20   Background of the Merino Reference population project. What is needed for an effective reference population? Dr Gretha Snyman

11:50   Overview of available data sets and biological material for the different breeds. Dr Buks Olivier

12:10   Preliminary results obtained in some research flocks on evaluation of existing 50K SNP chip and genetic reproduction analyses. Relevance for other breeds. Ms Lise Sandenbergh

12:30   Discussion

13:15   Closure and lunch