Agricultural Sciences, Aarhus University   Life Sciences, University of Copenhagen

NOVA 2011
Methods and Constraints for Optimisation of Animal Breeding Schemes

Welcome to the webpage for the 2011 NOVA course on Methods and Constraints for Optimisation of Animal Breeding Schemes taught by Peer Berg, Erling Strandberg and John Woolliams. The course will last from June 6 to June 17, 2011. The course is organized jointly by the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences of Aarhus University and the Faculty of Life Sciences of the University of Copenhagen .

The Course and its Contents

Course Title

Methods and constraints for optimisation of animal breeding schemes

ECTS credits

The course is assigned 5.0 ECTS credits.

Intended Learning Outcomes

After the course student should have a firm understanding of methods for evaluation of animal breeding strategies and challenges in the optimisation of breeding schemes. To achieve this, the course is devoted to the general principles of genetic contributions and the unified theory of response to selection and changes in variance, deterministic and stochastic methods for evaluating breeding strategies and the theory of genotype environment interactions and its implications for genetic evaluation and selection.

These methods and tools are appropriate for tackling advanced practical problems in animal breeding and throughout the course the main focus will be on genomic selection.


The participants are expected to posses basic skills in matrix algebra and calculus. It is assumed that participants have basic knowledge on quantitative genetics including (basic) selection index theory, understanding of genetic parameters and basics elements involved in prediction of genetic gain. This can best be summarised as knowledge of Falconer and Mackay's book on "Introduction to Quantitative Genetics", 4th edn.

Examination Elements

Preparation of student presentations, focusing on methods used in their PhD.


The course will be evaluated based on active participation during the course

Teaching Methods

The course will consist of a series of lectures (3 hours spread over the day), exercises and discussions and student presentations with particular emphasis on the methods they use. Participants will work in groups during the day to make the exercises which will focus on the basic understanding of principles explained in the lectures. Each day will be concluded by a session to present results and to discuss the topics related to the material covered so far.

Scientific Content

  1. Genetic contribution theory
  2. Stochastic methods for evaluation of breeding schemes
  3. Genomic selection
  4. Genotype-Environment interaction

Course Program

A preliminary program is available.


Registrations for the course have now closed.

Please send the organizers an e-mail if you have special requirements including special dietary requirements.

Deadline for registrations was April 5, 2011.


The course will be held at Gammel Brydegaard located close to Lillebælt in the south west of the island of Fyn. This is one of the most beautiful parts of Denmark. In Google Earth enter "Helnæsvej 4, 5683 Haarby" into the "Fly to" field to see the location of Gammel Brydegaard.

If you have Google Earth installed follow this link.

Travel to Gammel Brydegaard

Travel to Odense, Denmark

Fly to one of Copenhagen Airport in Kastrup, Billund Airport or Aarhus Airport in Tirstrup. Of the three you will probably find that Aarhus Airport is the least convenient to use.

Via Copenhagen Airport to Odense

Copenhagen Airport in Kastrup is Denmarks's most important airport. From there either take a local train to Copenhagen Central Station (København H) and switch to a train towards Jutland (directions Aarhus, Frederikshavn, Aalborg, Esbjerg or Sønderborg) or take a direct train from the airport towards Aarhus, Frederikshavn, Aalborg, Esbjerg or Sønderborg

Via Billund Airport

Billund Airport is an international airport in Jutland. From here you can travel by airport bus to Vejle (lines 244 and 907X). From Vejle take a train towards Copenhagen to go to Odense.

Via Aarhus Airport

Aarhus Airport, Tirstrup is an airport with a few international connections. It is situated northeast of Aarhus. From the airport take an airport bus to Aarhus station and take a train towards Copenhagen to get to Odense.

International Trains

Use Deusche Bahn's route finder to identify a suitable connection to Odense.

Travel from Odense to Gammel Brydegaard

We will attempt to organize pickup at Odense station. If for some reason that will not be possible for you, you can take a bus from Odense station to Assens . Use Rejseplanen to find suitable connections. You will be traveling from Odense st to Assens Rutebilstation. In Assens please continue until the terminal station. We will then organize pickup in Assens.

Travel by Car

Go to Krak to find a map. Klik on "Kort" (the green tab), enter "Helnæsvej 4, 5683" in the field labeled "Hvor", and press return.

Course Fee

Ph.D. students at NOVA universities Free
Others 1.500 €

Course fees follow the rules of NOVA. The course fee covers participation in the course as well as food and accomodation. It does not cover travel costs of the participants.


For matters relating to registration please contact Please, contact Louise Dybdahl Pedersen or Thomas Mark regarding other matters relating to the course.

Other NOVA courses

Note that in 2011 there will also be a NOVA course in Finland on Quantitative Genetics.