ABG-20306 Animal Breeding and Genetics


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Learning supported by IT20
Practical intensively supervised20
Course coordinator(s)prof. dr. ir. J Komen
Lecturer(s)dr. AP Kause
prof. dr. ir. J Komen
Examiner(s)prof. dr. ir. JAM van Arendonk

Language of instruction:



By lectures and practicals (including lab and ICT-based) this course will introduce the main principles underlying genetic improvement programmes in livestock and companion animals. These principles include aspects of population, quantitative and molecular genetics. Biological aspects (like physiological limits to reproduction) will be integrated in the course. Although introducing principles, the course will directly relate to day-to-day animal breeding practices.
This course is also available as Distance Learning course; see for more information http://www.distancelearning.wur.nl/UK/

Learning outcomes:

After following this course, students can:
- explain with the single locus model that populations can be changed genetically by means of artificial selection;
- explain how family relationship between individuals can be used to estimate breeding values;
- estimate the genetic merit of animals based on phenotypic observations using selection index theory (in simple cases);
- describe the steps that need to be taken when setting up a breeding program;
- describe the consequences of different selection and mating strategies for the response to selection;
- explain how artificial selection can have undesirable long-term effects and indicate how these undesirable side effects can be prevented;
- predict the rate of inbreeding for simple situations;
- explain the principle of linkage analysis.


Lectures, practicals (including molecular and ICT).


Attendance to practicals is obligatory and allows participation in the written exam. The score at the ICT practicals is part of the final mark.


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

Compulsory for: BASAnimal SciencesBSc1AF