ABG-20306 Animal Breeding and Genetics


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Independent study
Course coordinator(s)dr. ir. HA Mulder
Lecturer(s)dr. ir. BJ Ducro
dr. ir. M.P.L. Calus
dr. ir. HA Mulder
Examiner(s)dr. ir. HA Mulder

Language of instruction:



By lectures and tutorials (partly ICT-based) this course will introduce the main principles underlying genetic improvement in livestock and companion animals. These principles include aspects of population, quantitative and molecular genetics as well as principles of breeding programs. Biological aspects are integrated in the course. In this introductory course the focus is on all aspects needed to run breeding programs either focusing on genetic improvement or on conservation of genetic diversity. During the practicals, which are scheduled in the last 3 weeks, students will work in pairs on a case study to run and optimize a breeding program.

Learning outcomes:

- describe the steps that need to be taken when setting up a breeding program;
- describe how selection can alleviate the effect of monogenic recessive diseases;
- calculate family relationships and inbreeding coefficients in pedigrees;
- predict the rate of inbreeding for simple situations;
- explain how family relationships between individuals can be used to estimate breeding values;
- describe the consequences of different selection and mating strategies for the response to selection;
- describe how DNA markers can be used to increase genetic gain and maintain genetic diversity in breeding programs;
- describe how running breeding programs can be evaluated in terms of response to selection and genetic diversity.


- lectures;
- practicals (including molecular and ICT).


- midterm exam with ~30 multiple choice questions (25%);
- written exam with 5 open questions (75%).
The minimum mark for the written exam is 5. The midterm exam only counts when the mark is higher than the mark of the written exam.


A study guide and other study material for practicals is available (via Web-page).
Lecture notes will be provided.

Compulsory for: BASAnimal SciencesBSc1AF
Restricted Optional for: MASAnimal SciencesMScA: Genetics and Biodiversity1AF