Analysis, Summarization and Interpretation of Plant Breeding Data using Mixed Models with Echidna Software Workshop

August 1, 2 & 3, 2023
9 am – 3 pm each day

Goodding Learning Center
280 Plant Sciences Hall
Department of Agronomy & Horticulture
University of Nebraska–Lincoln

Instructor(s): Blaine Johnson

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Registration limited to 25 participants.

What: A Workshop on analysis and summarization of plant breeding data using mixed models and Echidna/ASReml software. Emphasis is on analyses executed using phenotypic data to generate reports of relative genetic values of genetic entities evaluated in plant breeding experiments, and on subsequent interpretation of those results.

Why: Graduate students and faculty have expressed desire of a learning event during which they can extend their knowledge and understanding of analysis of plant breeding data used to make plant breeding decisions. In addition, Workshop Leads are currently consulting with multiple students and faculty on analysis of plant breeding data. This event is being held to further broaden knowledge and experience through a common sharing of a diverse set of plant breeding data sets and approaches used for analysis of those data sets.

For Whom? Anyone who has one or more experiments and/or data sets which they are willing to share during a group learning experience on plant breeding data, data analysis, and interpretation of results. While background and experience of the Workshop Leads is primarily in the discipline of plant breeding and hence the Workshop is focused on plant breeding data, any and all are welcome to attend the Workshop. It is assumed that participants have some background in basic statistical analysis and prior background in mixed models will be helpful.

Workshop Leads: 

The Details: 

  • Structure of the Workshop:
    • The workshop is conducted over three days, with Day One covering data structure and organization, Day Two covering data analysis, and Day Three covering reports, summaries, and interpretation. These daily topics are general guidelines and may be adjusted per the interest of participants.
    • Workshop Leads will provide overall guidance during group study of multiple data sets as brought forward by Workshop participants. Workshop Leads will present on minimal background slides or other prepared information, but rather provide impromptu direction and guidance during group development of experimental designs and analyses of agricultural experiments, as brought to the workshop by participants.
    • Real-time building of the statistical models and use of software used to execute data analyses are an integral component of the Workshop. 
    • Workshop will be in a classroom setting only; a Zoom option will not be available.
  • Time of Workshop:
    • Workshop begins daily at 9:00 AM and ends at 3:00 PM or ???.
    • Actual ending time will occur when discussions and/or participants are exhausted.
  • What you need to bring to the Workshop:
    • Yourself!
    • Any plant breeding data sets on which you would like consultation and extended knowledge of analysis options. Note, experiments and data sets must be sharable with the group at large, experiments and data sets that are proprietary or otherwise cannot be shared cannot be used. Workshop Leads will also have example data sets for use as needed, but the Workshop is designed for utilization of participants’ data sets.
    • A computer with either ASReml or Echidna installed, the two statistical software packages that will be used in the Workshop. Should two or more individuals be participating as a group using a common data set, Echidna/ASReml should be installed prior to the Workshop one at least one computer used by the group. Due to the short duration of the workshop, time will not permit installation of software during the workshop.

      Please contact the Workshop Leads prior to the Workshop if help is needed for installing Echidna.
  • Be prepared for Active Participation:
    • Knowledge and learning are extended by doing. Active participation is expected, and the leads have subtle and not so subtle approaches to ensuring active involvement by each and all participants. As a warning to those who might try passive participation, remember the famous quote: “No soup for you!”
    • There is no set requirement on level of background knowledge or expertise; the primary requirement is that you have knowledge and thorough understanding of the experiment and/or data set you bring to the Workshop. That being said, there is the expectation that participants have minimal knowledge of statistical concepts such as means, predictions, variances, covariances, blocking, randomization, etc., as used for agricultural experimentation, and plant breeding experiments in particular.
  • What this Workshop is not:
    • This Workshop is intended to be a learning experience for all participants; the workshop is not to be considered a one-on-one help or consulting session; please contact the Workshop Leads and/or explore other avenues if a help session or consulting session is needed. Rather come to this Workshop prepared to share and learn in a group setting.
  • The Bottom line:
    • Bring your plant breeding data sets, questions, problems, or whatever, and be prepared for a time of learning and extending your knowledge and experience of design and analysis of agricultural research.
    • Most importantly come to the Workshop prepared to participate, enjoy, and have fun!

Lunch: There will be a lunch break of approximately 45 minutes, however lunch will not be provided.

For additional information please contact: 

Blaine Johnson
Professor of Practice-Teaching
Department of Agronomy & Horticulture