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Quantitative Genetics in Animal Breeding

NOVA PhD course of 3 ECTS, organised by Pekka Uimari, University of Helsinki - Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry (HU-AF).
Dates and location: 8-13 August 2016 in Mikkeli, Finland.

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Håkon Sparre
Course Description
The course will focus on population and quantitative genetics that is relevant in the genomic selection era. The course is aimed at students with an interest in quantitative genetics or animal breeding.

The course will focus on understanding, analysing, and utilizing the genetic basis of quantitative traits for animal breeding and genetics, with a focus on application in the genomic selection era.


Programme Outline

  • Lecture 1: Basic single locus genetics. Fisher’s decomposition of the genotypic value. Average effect & Breeding value.
  • Lecture 2: Forces changing allele frequency: mutation, selection, drift. Effective population size.
  • Lecture 3: Coalescence theory.
  • Lecture 4: Multilocus genetics. Forces generating linkage disequilibrium: mutation, selection, drift.
  • Lecture 5: Long-term response to selection. The effective number of segments in the genome.
  • Lecture 6: Relationship matrices based on markers; scaling of relationships and definition of a base generation, Wright’s F-statistics.
  • Lecture 7: The accuracy of genomic selection and its dependency on genome structure.
  • Lecture 8: Variation in relatedness.
  • Lecture 9: Prediction of response to genomic selection using selection index theory.
  • Lecture 10: Breeding programs with genomic selection.

Learning Outcomes
After the course the students should have comprehensive understanding of population and quantitative genetics applied in animal breeding. The main emphasis of the course is to cover topics that are especially relevant in the current genomic based breeding era.

Evaluation Elements
During the course: results of the problem sets will be presented, discussed and evaluated daily in the class. The results of the problem sets will be presented and discussed jointly in the class in feedback sessions.

Pedagogical Approach
The pedagogical approach will combine lecturing with problem based and collaborative learning methods. The goal is to improve students’ skills and tools to make use of the current theories and applications in their own research work, as well as, improve their capabilities to embrace new techniques and approaches that are likely to be developed in the near future. The course will also provide the participants important contacts with internationally recognized teachers and other Nordic students working in the same field.

Estimated Workload

  • 10 hours seminar
  • 35 hours lecture
  • 35 hours independent work
  • 10 hours other (student presentations)

Prerequisite Knowledge
Basic knowledge of quantitative genetics and algebra. Very basic knowledge of matrix algebra and basic familiarity with linear models. An MSc-degree in animal breeding and genetics or a related field suffices.

Admission for NOVA courses is handled by the course organiser/ the NOVA member institution organising the course. Please see the links in the margin for more information.

Published 7. August 2015 - 12:39 - Updated 1. March 2016 - 14:04

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