HFA303 Biological Consequences of Selection in Animal Breeding

Credits (ECTS):5

Course responsible:Geir Steinheim

Campus / Online:Taught campus Ås

Teaching language:Norsk, engelsk

Limits of class size:The course is only given if 5 or more students register.

Course frequency:


The course might not be given in the autumn of 2023,

For more information you are welcome to contact the student advisor in August.

Nominal workload:125 hours.

Teaching and exam period:This course starts in Autumn parallel. This course has teaching/evaluation in Autumn parallel

About this course

Genetic coding and strategies for growth and development. Genetic size scaling. Natural and artificial selection and fitness. Resource allocation. Side effects of selection. Physiological consequences of selection. Selection and side effects on product quality. Selection for feeding efficiency. Selection and animal behaviour. Selection and fertility. Maternal effects. Epigenetics. Comparing animal races and species from different perspectives. Sustainable selection strategies and schemes.

Learning outcome

The student will be able to evaluate and ethical consequences of selection, and to analyse ethical and animal welfare problems concerning livestock breeding. The student will learn to describe and analyse the animal as a self-regulating biological system with developmental and coping strategies developed through natural evolution and subsequent adaptation to a production environment.

Students will be familiar with examples of how domestic animal breeding have resulted in partial disruption of this biological system, and consequences of this including on animal welfare. Students will be able to analyse these examples and reflect on how different domestic animal breeds and species can be compared.

The students will understand the following concepts will be explained: fitness, resource allocation, maternal effects, epigenetics, development strategies etc. The most important traits and general trends in domestic breeding will be understood, in addition to experiments examining the consequences of selection. Students will understand how to compare breeds and species of livestock. The student must have insight in ethical and biological aspects of breeding and be able to contribute in discussions in this field.

  • Lectures with discussions. Independent studies. Developing and holding seminar presentation.
  • Personal teacher support will be provided if desired.
  • HFA200 or the equivalent.
  • Oral examination.

  • An examiner assesses the oral examination. Individual examination result.
  • Presentation of report
  • 13 lectures with some exercises lasting 2 hours. Mandatory semester presentations.
  • Animal Science.
  • -100% overlap with NOVA-302
  • Special requirements in Science