International Conference on Quantitative Genetics in Madison June 12-17

Quantitative genetics researchers from around the globe are set to gather in Madison, Wisconsin June 12-17 for the 5th International Conference on Quantitative Genetics (ICQG5). The conference, which will be held at the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center, is for public and private sector scientists who seek to understand the genetic inheritance of complex traits in humans, animals and plants, such as disease susceptibility in humans and crop yields in plants.

“It’s an exciting time in the field of quantitative genetics. The advent of genomics technologies has opened up myriad strategies for investigating how genetic and environmental factors jointly affect the expression of complex phenotypic traits,” says conference co-organizer Guilherme Rosa, a UW-Madison professor in the Department of Animal Sciences and the Department of Biostatistics and Medical Informatics. 

Some scientists in the field scour the human genome, searching for genes that control susceptibility to various diseases or for genes that affect how patients respond to particular treatments. This work is an important step on the path toward identifying new, more precisely targeted drugs, as well as patient-specific treatments that are the promise of personalized medicine. Others focus on agriculture, studying how complex traits are transmitted from generation to generation, in animals and crops. 

“These efforts are facilitating the development of improved livestock herds and crop varieties with higher production potential, creating higher-quality agricultural products while minimizing their environmental footprint,” explains conference co-organizer Natalia de Leon, UW-Madison associate professor in the Department of Agronomy. 

The field of quantitative genetics, however, is currently challenged by the “big data” it generates. In order to efficiently exploit the massive amount of information provided by genomic technologies, sophisticated statistical models, data mining techniques and computer algorithms are required. ICQG5 provides an important opportunity for geneticists, epidemiologists, statisticians, computer scientists, animal breeders and plant breeders to exchange information on new developments, including approaches to best store, manage and analyze genomics data. 

ICQG5 is comprised of nine scientific sessions featuring more than 30 invited talks to be delivered by renowned international speakers, as well as three poster sessions and contributed presentations by delegates. Among the invited speakers are three UW-Madison researchers: Elliott Sober, professor in the Department of Philosophy; Daniel Gianola, professor in the Department of Animal Sciences and the Department of Dairy Science; and Bret Payseur, associate professor in the Department of Genetics. 

For more information about the conference, visit