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Wageningen University

Evaluating Animal Breeding Programmes

Wageningen University via edX

Overview

Animal breeding, and especially farm animal breeding, has developed into a professional industry with modern technologies, large-scale data collection, and analyses. This has resulted in very efficient and effective breeding programs. However, in many developing countries, and for many lesser known livestock and fish species there is a need for tailor-made breeding programs. In this MOOC, you will learn about the implementation and evaluation of both large industrial scale and the tailor-made breeding programs, in terms of genetic progress and genetic diversity.

Together with other learners, you will dive into the reasons behind crossbreeding in relation to dissemination of genetic improvement. It is essential to know how key biological factors affect the structure of a breeding program and to understand the different structures a breeding program can have.

Join this course and learn everything about how to properly evaluate breeding programs. In several knowledge clips and assignments, you will learn how to assess the effects of legislation, competition, GxE, new technology on breeding programs.

A special section of this course is devoted to monogenic recessive disorders. These disorders play an important role in breeding programs for companion animals such as dogs and horses. Modern DNA sequencing technology now makes it possible not only to detect these mutations but also to design breeding strategies aimed at eliminating these diseases.

After finishing this course you can make informed decisions when setting up a breeding program for a specific animal in a specific production system and recognize and identify key elements of the course in real-life examples of breeding programs.

Please know that knowledge of statistics at a 2nd or 3rd year university level is needed to follow this course successfully. This course partially builds on knowledge gained in the MOOC Genetic Models for Animal Breeding.

For Whom
Although this course is open to everyone, it is particular useful for breeders of:

  • Cows
  • Poultry/Chicken
  • Horses
  • Pigs/Swine
  • Dogs
  • Sheep
  • Goat
  • Fish
  • Shrimp

Professional Certificate Program

This course is part of the Professional Certificate Programme "Animal Breeding and Genetics". Join the other course in the programme, Genetic Models for Animal Breeding, and advance your career as a breeder.

The course is developed with financial support and input from the Koepon Foundation.

Syllabus

Module 1: Introduction

Introduction to evaluating animal breeding programmes, along the seven steps that are needed to set up a breeding programme.

Module 2: Crossbreeding and Dissemination

Learning about heterosis and crossbreeding, including crossbreeding schemes in practice. Learning about the most important breeding programme structures and schemes, and about which key factors influence this structure.

Module 3: Evaluation of Breeding Programmes

How do we assess genetic improvement in breeding programmes? Let’s look into limits to selection, genotype by environment interaction and its consequences for breeding programmes. Learn how multi-trait selection can reduce unwanted correlated responses.

Module 4: Genetic Diversity I - Monogenic Recessive Disorders

This module is all about the nature of monogenic recessive disorders, their mode of inheritance and about strategies to eliminate these defects. Learn about the Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium and about genetic drift in relation to genetic diversity.

Module 5: Genetic Diversity II - Population Level

Let’s study the forces that affect genetic diversity on a population level, and factors that influence the rate of inbreeding. We will predict the rate of inbreeding in simple situations, and learn how to monitor genetic diversity. Finally, we will discuss in vivo and in vitro strategies to conserve genetic diversity.

Module 6: Breeding Programmes in Practice

Introduction to evaluating animal breeding programmes in practice, through a number of real life situations. How do the different topics covered in the course affect choices made when designing and evaluating a breeding programme?

Taught by

Hans Komen, Han Mulder, Piter Bijma, John Bastiaansen and Mario Calus

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