Finncattle is one threatened Nordic native breed where EVA has been used for sustainable breeding recommendations.
Participants from several Nordic and other European countries are spending time in Oslo this week, to partake in NordGen Farm Animal’s workshop on genetic selection. One of the participants, Stefano Biffani, is a Senior Researcher of the Italian Research Council. As a former geneticist, he decided to take the opportunity to learn more about EVA and getting help in understanding the program.
“I’m currently working with sheep, goats and buffalos and I’m very keen in using EVA with my real data. In Italy we have more than 80 different sheep and goat breeds and most of them are quite limited in size. They really need some efficient tool to cope with inbreeding and relationship issues. I have developed something by myself, but I can see that EVA is by far a better option. The option of getting some mating lists is really valuable and extremely useful at herd level”, Stefano Biffani says.
Modern breeding schemes, utilizing both advanced reproductive, statistical and molecular genetics methods and technologies, harvest high genetic progress, but also high rates of inbreeding. This has increased the need for tools to monitor and control rates of inbreeding in a population, such as optimal genetic contribution selection (OCS). EVA is a software package developed by NordGen. It aims at describing inbreeding in a population and predicting genetic contributions of breeding candidates while maximizing response to selection given a penalty on/constraining the rate of inbreeding. The software, which is freely available via NordGen’s website, has been used in both commercial and endangered populations in the Nordic and Baltic countries.
The software program EVA is free for everyone to download and use, but it is recommended that you join one of the workshops, arranged by NordGen Farm Animals, to learn more about how to use it. Information about EVA and download of the software can be found here.
“We are having a few busy days here in Oslo this week. Many of the participants realize that it can be challenging trying to use a new software program by yourself. That’s why we in the workshop are focusing on hands-on exercises to promote the participants’ independent use of the EVA software. The participants are very eager to learn, it’s wonderful to see. Hopefully, this can facilitate a more sustainable breeding and use of farm animal genetic resources” says advisor Line Sass Kierkegaard, NordGen Farm Animals.