Everglades Research & Education Center

Predicting disease and improving crops through genetics

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GAINESVILLE, Fla -- Can scientists accurately predict when an individual will develop a disease? What if we could predict how to increase drought resistance in plants? Or offer patients personalized medicine?

Researchers are looking for answers to these questions and more using a plant or animal’s obvious traits, called phenotype prediction, a field that will be discussed in a free workshop presented by the University of Florida Forest Genomics Lab, the Forage Breeding and Genomics Lab and Genetics Institute Aug. 11 from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Held in the UF Cancer & Genetics Research Complex auditorium, the event can be streamed live online. Faculty, students, researchers and breeders working with plant, animal or human genomic data locally or worldwide are invited to participate. In its first year, the workshop attracted participants from 64 countries.

Matias Kirst, associate professor of quantitative genetics and genomics in the UF School of Forest Resources and Conservation, organized this second annual workshop along with Patricio Munoz, UF Department of Agronomy and Marcio Resende of RAPiD Genomics LLC.

Researchers in this field don’t often have the opportunity to discuss findings or share what approaches are being used in humans, animals and plants, said Kirst. A scientific discipline in its infancy, having been studied for only 10 years and with most approaches developed in the last two to three, phenotype prediction using genomic data of humans, plants and animals will be discussed in-depth.

Workshop speakers represent a broad spectrum of disciplines, including animal breeding, crop management, and medicine.

At 8:40 a.m., UF’s Larisa Cavallari, director of pharmocogenomics and associate director of the Personalized Medicine Program, will discuss human genetics, focusing on predicting pharmacological responses. At 9:20 a.m., Guilherme Rosa from the University of Wisconsin-Madison will speak on genetic prediction in poultry breeding.

Rex Bernardo from the University of Minnesota will present plant breeding at 10:30 a.m., focusing on concerns with genomic prediction. The workshop will close with RAPiD Genomics’ executive vice president, and recent UFGI doctoral program graduate, Marcio Resende’s discussion on non-additive effects in the prediction of traits, or the effects on traits that arise from the combination of both parents’ DNA.

There will be a question-and-answer session at the close of the workshop.

For live streaming viewers, recurring questions gathered throughout the presentations will be addressed.

For more information and to register for onsite attendance or online streaming, visithttp://ufgi.ufl.edu/seminars-events/genomic-workshop/.

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