Msc Scholarship Opportunity| Exploiting genomics to advance genetic gain for health traits in sheep

Master's & postgraduate Msc Scholarship Opportunity| Exploiting genomics to advance genetic gain for health traits in sheep

Deadline: 07 June 2024

  1. Background

Genomic selection was introduced to the Irish national sheep breeding programme in 2020, however, the full potential of genomic data to increase genetic gain, profitability and efficiency of sheep industry remains unexploited. The now routine genotyping of large cohorts of sheep enables additional in-depth analyses of genomic information including the identification of genes that influence traits of efficiency and economic importance, detection of previously unknown genetic disorders, accurate estimation of In breeding and precision matings.

This research is a part of recently funded SFI Frontiers for the future project ‘OviSeq: from genome to phenome, advancing genetic gain in sheep through genomics’ and will

focus on health traits in sheep such as mastitis, lameness and interal parasites all of which can have a major negative impact on the profitability of sheep production.

This project will exploit large phenotypic, genomic and pedigree datasets to identify additive and non-additive DNA associations that are associated with health traits. The impact of the inclusion of such variants on genomic prediction accuracy will be determined and compared to the use of deep learning and neural networks for genomic prediction. Genomic information will also be used to determine the presence of alleles and genomic regions exhibiting a reduction in health performance.

  1. Requirements
  • Applicants should hold or expect to hold a first or upper second class honours degree in an appropriate discipline (agriculture, genetics, animal science, computational biology or biological sciences).
  • Experience of statistical software, programming (e.g. R, SAS) and data analysis would be an advantage.
  • The successful candidate should be able to work independently, be hard-working and solution-oriented and willing to participate fully within a dynamic and friendly research team.
  1. Award
  • This MSc is a joint research project between Teagasc Moorepark and Munster Technological University (Cork Campus).
  • The successful candidate will be based in the Teagasc Research Centre at Moorepark, Co. Cork and complete coursework in MTU.
  • The scholarship funding is €27,500 per annum and includes University fees of up to a maximum of €5,500 per annum and is tenable for 2 years.
  1. Application Procedure
  • Submit an electronic copy of Curriculum Vitae and a letter of interest simultaneously, along with the names and contact details of two referees to: Dr Nóirín McHugh ([email protected] ) and Dr Deirdre Purfield ([email protected] )
  • Closing date: 07 June 2024
  1. Further Information/Applications
  • Dr Nóirin McHugh, Animal and Grassland Research and Innovation Centre, Teagasc, Moorepark, Fermoy, Co. Cork ([email protected] )
  • Dr Deirdre Purfield, Department of Biological Sciences, Munster Technological University, Bishopstown, Co. Cork ([email protected] )

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