Professor Ben Hayes

Centre Director, Animal Science

Centre for Animal Science
Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation
+61 7 334 62173


Professor Hayes has extensive research experience in genetic improvement of livestock, crop, pasture and aquaculture species, with a focus on integration of genomic information into breeding programs, including leading many large scale projects which have successfully implemented genomic technologies in livestock and cropping industries. Author of more than 250 journal papers, including in Nature Genetics, Nature Reviews Genetics, and Science, contributing to statistical methodology for genomic, microbiome and metagenomic profile predictions, quantitative genetics including knowledge of genetic mechanisms underlying complex traits, and development of bioinformatics pipelines for sequence analysis. Thomson Reuters highly cited researcher in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018.

Research Impacts

Genomic prediction, of which Ben Hayes was a co-inventor, and first described in the seminal publication [Meuwissen THE, Hayes BJ, Goddard ME (2001) Prediction of total genetic value using genome-wide dense marker maps. Genetics 157, 1819-1829] is now being used very widely in livestock and crops to predict future trait outcomes. The technology is also being used increasingly in human disease research.

In dairy cattle, the technology has been actively used by the industry for the past five years, and increases in genetic gain for key economic traits can be demonstrated. Nearly every dairy bull worldwide chosen for widespread use in the industry is now selected on the basis of genomic predictions. Dr Hayes has been an invited speaker at numerous high profile conferences, including the Biology of Genomes conference at Cold Spring Harbor May 2015, and also has a number of youtube videos explaining complex trait prediction for a general audience, one of which has been viewed more than 5000 times (

Ben Hayes led the program on animal improvement of the Dairy Futures CRC, which concluded June 2016. The animal improvement program in the Dairy Futures CRC is a successful research and utilisation program which has a very high level of industry input and collaboration. The value of the program was recognised recently when it was awarded a Cooperative Research Centres Association (CRCA) Award for Excellence in Innovation. The Dairy Futures CRC under the leadership of Dr. Hayes successfully developed and implemented a genomic breeding value for feed efficiency, which has been widely adopted by the industry.

Dr. Hayes established the 1000 bull genomes project, a consortium of over 30 institutes across the globe, which has assembled whole genome sequences of 1682 cattle of 55 breeds. The consortium has published a widely cited paper in Nature Genetics (Daetwyler et al. 2014), and has already led to more than 50 companion papers.


  • Doctor of Philosophy, C.Qld.


  • Nguyen, Loan T., Forutan, Mehrnush, Hayes, Ben J. and Ross, Elizabeth M. (2021). A Bos indicus epigenetic clock predicts age from tail hair. 38th International Society of Animal Genetics (ISAG), Virtual, 26 - 30 July 2021.

  • Forutan, Mehrnush, Ross, Elizabeth, Chamberlain, Amanda J., Nguyen, Loan, Mason, Brett, Moore, Stephen, Garner, Josie B., Xiang, Ruidong and Hayes, Ben J. (2021). Evolution of tissue and developmental specificity of transcription start sites in Bos taurus indicus. Communications Biology, 4 (1) 829, 1-14. doi: 10.1038/s42003-021-02340-6

  • Cardoso, Fernando Flores, Matika, Oswald, Djikeng, Appolinaire, Mapholi, Ntanganedzeni, Burrow, Heather M., Yokoo, Marcos Jun Iti, Campos, Gabriel Soares, Gulias-Gomes, Claudia Cristina, Riggio, Valentina, Pong-Wong, Ricardo, Engle, Bailey, Porto-Neto, Laercio, Maiwashe, Azwihangwisi and Hayes, Ben J. (2021). Multiple country and breed genomic prediction of tick resistance in beef cattle. Frontiers in Immunology, 12 620847, 1-11. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2021.620847

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  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

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Book Chapter

  • Voss-Fels, Kai P., Herzog, Eva, Dreisigacker, Susanne, Sukumaran, Sivakumar, Watson, Amy, Frisch, Matthias, Hayes, Ben and Hickey, Lee T. (2019). “SpeedGS” to accelerate genetic gain in spring wheat. Applications of genetic and genomic research in cereals. (pp. 303-327) edited by Thomas Miedaner and Viktor Korzun. Amsterdam, Netherlands: Elsevier. doi: 10.1016/b978-0-08-102163-7.00014-4

  • Goddard, M. E. and Hayes, B. J. (2012). Genome-wide association studies and linkage disequilibrium in cattle. Bovine genomics. (pp. 192-210) edited by James E. Womack. Oxford, United Kingdom: John Wiley & Sons. doi: 10.1002/9781118301739.ch13

  • Hayes, B. J., Cocks, B. and Goddard, M. E. (2011). Genetics: cattle genomics. Encyclopedia of dairy sciences. (pp. 663-668) edited by John W. Fuquay. Kidlington, Oxford, United Kingdom: Elsevier. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-374407-4.00211-9

  • Andersen, Oivind and Hayes, Ben (2005). Population genetics. Selection and Breeding Programs in Aquaculture. (pp. 23-33) Berlin/Heidelberg: Springer Netherlands. doi: 10.1007/1-4020-3342-7_3

  • Hayes B.J., Kinghorn B.P. and Ruvinsky A. (2004). Genome scanning for quantitative trait loci. Mammalian Genomics. (pp. 507-539) CABI Publishing.

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Other Outputs

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision