Grum Gebreyesus Teklewold: Possibilities to breed cows with distinctive milk fat and protein compositions

PhD defence, Friday 14 December 2018. Grum Gebreyesus Teklewold.

2018.12.14 | Lisbeth Heilesen

Grum Gebreyesus Teklewold

During his studies, Grum researched the genetic backgrounds of milk protein and fatty acid composition and the possibilities to alter cow’s milk composition through selective breeding. Several hundreds of fatty acids exist in milk, some of which are linked to human diseases and some others considered beneficial in preventing cardio-vascular disease risks. Suitability of milk for processing into high-value products such as cheese is affected by its protein composition. Unravelling the genetics underlying these traits might enable breeding of cows with desired milk protein and fat composition. Grum studied the genetic mechanisms underlying milk protein and fatty acid synthesis and found novel genes that contribute to differences between cows in the fat composition of their milk. He developed quantitative models that enable using these findings to select breeding animals accurately for distinct milk protein and fatty acid compositions.

The new research findings contribute to the understanding of the genetic mechanisms underlying milk protein and fatty acid synthesis. The findings and the novel methods developed will also be of practical value for the dairy cattle breeding industry.


The PhD degree was completed at the Center for Quantitative Genetics and Genomics (QGG), Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Science and Technology, Aarhus University, and Wageningen University & Research, Wageningen, the Netherlands.

This résumé was prepared by the PhD student.

Time: Friday 14 December 2018 at 12:30
Place: Building 8814, room 3075, Lecture Theatre, AU-Foulum, Aarhus University, Blichers Allé 20, 8830 Tjele
Title of PhD thesis: Fine mapping and genomic prediction for detailed milk composition
Contact information: Grum Gebreyesus, e-mail: grum.gebreyesus@mbg.au.dk, tel.: +45 87157972
Members of the assessment committee:
Professor Martino Cassandro, Department of Agronomy, Food, Natural Resources, Animals and Environment (DAFNAE), University of Padova, Italy
Professor Walter Gerrits, Department of Animal Sciences, Wageningen University & Research, Netherlands
Geneticist Freddy Fikse, Växa Sverige, Sweden
Associate Professor Søren Borg, Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Aarhus University
Main supervisors:
Associate Professor Albert Johannes Buitenhuis, Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Aarhus University
Professor Henk Bovenhuis, Department of Animal Sciences, Wageningen University & Research, Nehterlands
Co-supervisor:
Professor Mogens Sandø Lund, Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Aarhus University
Language: The PhD dissertation will be defended in English


The defense is public.

The dissertation is available for reading at the Graduate School of Science and Technology/GSST, Ny Munkegade 120, building 1520, rooms 128-134, 8000 Aarhus C.

PhD defense