Animal breeding research focuses on improving the accuracy of selection in the national commercial livestock herds, e.g. dairy cattle, beef cattle and sheep, by developing relevant genetic parameters and using them to develop new selection indices or improve existing ones. Another focus area is on the evaluation of farm animal genetics, using functional genomics. This involves the use of traditional quantitative genetics tools and molecular-based techniques to uncover the livestock genetic code. The main species being evaluated are pigs, chickens, ostriches and cattle. The research aims to characterise the genetic diversity (using molecular biology techniques) and population dynamics of these species in Southern Africa, which is then followed by phenotypic characterisation. The second stage aims to look for quantitative trait loci (QTLs) that are of economic importance to the respective industries. This research is being conducted in collaboration with the Agricultural Research Council (ARC), Western Cape Department of Agriculture and the University of the Western Cape.