Course code LauZ5041

Credit points 4

Basics of Quantitative Genetics

Total Hours in Course160

Number of hours for lectures32

Number of hours for seminars and practical classes32

Independent study hours96

Date of course confirmation15.03.2011

Responsible UnitInstitute of Animal Science

Course developer

author Vadības sistēmu katedra

Līga Paura

Dr. agr.

Course abstract

The course will focus on understanding, analyzing and utilizing the genetic basis of quantitative traits for animal breeding and genetics. The goal is to provide students with the necessary skills and special tools to analysis genetic parameters and breeding value (WOMBAT, PEST). Students gain the knowledge and skills required to apply quantitative genetics theory to practical problems in animal-science. The course will start with an overview of the basic methods of quantitative genetics and include the toppic related to selection response and breeding value estimation.

Learning outcomes and their assessment

After completing the course student will have:
Knowledge scientific knowledge in quantitative genetics subject, such are long term selection theory, mating theory, breeding value estimation; application of theory through computer-based practical and tutorials (the practical works are developed, successfully passed the theory exam);
Skills development of independent research skills through individual mini- and maxi-research projects; development of generic skills and presentation skills through student seminars, scientific presentation of project work and independent research projects (the practical works are developed, assessment tests successfully are written, homework is developed).
Competences to realize research in master work; to use special data analysis programs for genetic parameter and breeding value estimation; define and critically analyse the results (assessment tests are successfully written, successfully passed the theory exam, home work is developed and public defended).

Course Content(Calendar)

1. Introduction to quantitative genetics. Quantitative traits. Continuous variation. [L – 2h]
2. Genetic values. Genetic effect. [L – 2h, P – 2h]
3. Variance components. Additive genetic and dominance variance. Genotype and environment interaction. [L – 2h, P – 2h]
4. Resemblance between relatives. Epistatic covariance. [L – 2h, P – 2h]
5. Genetic and environmental covariance. Maternal effect. Phenotypic resemblance. [L – 2h, P – 2h]
6. Heritability and its use for breeding value estimation. [L – 2h, P – 2h]
7. Heritability estimation. Sib analysis. Combined estimates. [L – 2h, P – 2h]
8. Precision of heritability estimation. Software for genetic parameters and heritability estimation. [L – 2h, P – 4h]
9. Response to selection and its prediction. Factors affecting response to selection. [L – 2h, P – 2h]
10. Effect of selection on variance. Measurement of response. [L – 2h, P – 2h]
11. Response to selection in short-term and long-term period. Improvement of response. [L – 2h, P – 2h]
12. Mating influence on mean and variance. Inbreeding and outbreeding. [L – 2h, P – 2h]
13. Linear models for prediction of animal breeding values. [L – 2h, P – 2h]
14. Genetic evaluation with different sources of records. [L – 2h, P – 2h]
15. Sire and animal models. [L – 2h, P – 2h]
16. Univariate and multivariate models. [L – 2h, P – 2h]

Requirements for awarding credit points

Examination. Examination include practical tasks on the course subjects and theoretical subjects acquired during the study course.
All practical works and two tests should be executed.

Description of the organization and tasks of students’ independent work

The organization of independent work during the semester is independently studying literature, using academic staff member consultations. Homework has been developed and public defended. Homework: required to apply quantitative genetics theory to practical problems in animal-science, to calculate genetic parameters and use them for selection effects or breeding value estimation.

Criteria for Evaluating Learning Outcomes

Exam evaluation depends of the semester cumulative assessment: 1st test – 35%, 2nd test – 35% and homework – 30%. Students who have a cumulative assessment of the study course less than 4 or wish to improve it (at least 4) hold the complex exam during the session. The exam includes practical part (70%) and theory (30%).

Compulsory reading

1. Falconer D.S., Mackay T.F.C. Introduction to Quantitative Genetics. 4th edition. Edinburgh: Longman Limited, 1996. 464 p. 2. Bourdon, R.M. Understanding Animal Breeding: Pearson New International Edition. Pearson education limited, 2014. 513 p. [LF, Dzīvnieku zinātņu institūts, 1 eks.] 3. Mrode A.R., Thompson R. Linear Models for the Prediction of Animal Breeding Values. 3rd Edition. CAB International, 2014. 343 p.


Elective course for Master study programme “Agriculture” specialisation Livestock