Hans Komen, genetics expert from Wageningen University and Research Centre, talks about a recent training course on the ‘Fundamentals of data analysis and mixed linear models in animal breeding’ that was offered by the African Chicken Genetic Gains (ACGG) program. It is one in a series that displays key people in the ACGG project.
How did this training course relate to, or differ from last year’s course?
This course was different from last year’s course. Last year we trained participants in understanding the design of breeding programs. This helped them to understand the wider context of the ACGG program. This year’s course was specifically on training in data analysis to them acquire hands-on skills
How will this training benefit the ACGG program?
This training course was specifically designed for researchers that are involved in data collection in the ACGG program. The course focused on a first analysis of data using freely available software in ‘R’. The course therefore started with an introduction to ‘R’ (a statistical analysis software), and followed up with items such as ‘data cleaning’, and graphical presentation of data. The final part was on breeding value estimation. It is anticipated that a next course will continue on this topic, as there is more need for training in this area. It is expected that some of the ACGG researchers will eventually also perform a genetic analysis of the ACGG data. This course, and the next, will fill that need.
After the last training,the trainers said they hoped to see the participants in the next course and they would create a community of practice. Do you think that this has been realized?
Yes, we are well on our way. The fact that a large number of the same people attended both courses helped them to get to know each other, and to understand what each person’s role is in the program. Social activities and presentations by the participants in the course are important tools to achieve this.
Are there plans for another training session? If so, do you hope to see a continuity in the attendees?
Yes, we are planning another course in consultation with the program leaders. We hope to see many students back in this third course.