First cycle
degree courses
Second cycle
degree courses
Single cycle
degree courses
School of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine
Course unit
MVL1000658, A.A. 2017/18

Information concerning the students who enrolled in A.Y. 2016/17

Information on the course unit
Degree course 5 years single cycle degree in
MV0991, Degree course structure A.Y. 2011/12, A.Y. 2017/18
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Number of ECTS credits allocated 9.0
Type of assessment Mark
Course unit English denomination ANIMAL BREEDING AND GENETICS
Website of the academic structure
Department of reference Department of Animal Medicine, Production and Health
Mandatory attendance
Language of instruction Italian
Single Course unit The Course unit CANNOT be attended under the option Single Course unit attendance
Optional Course unit The Course unit CANNOT be chosen as Optional Course unit

No lecturer assigned to this course unit

ECTS: details
Type Scientific-Disciplinary Sector Credits allocated
Basic courses AGR/17 General Techniques for Zoology and Genetic Improvement 2.0
Core courses AGR/17 General Techniques for Zoology and Genetic Improvement 4.0
Core courses SECS-S/02 Statistics for Experimental and Technological Research 3.0

Mode of delivery (when and how)
Period First semester
Year 2nd Year
Teaching method frontal

Organisation of didactics
Type of hours Credits Hours of
Hours of
Individual study
Practice 2.0 18 32.0 No turn
Lecture 7.0 66 109.0 No turn

Start of activities 02/10/2017
End of activities 19/01/2018

Prerequisites: Knowledge on biology and basic knowledge on the application of statistics
Target skills and knowledge: The student will get knowledge about the main features of the farm livestock sector and the characteristics of breeds of livestock and will get familiar with the theoretical basis of quantitative genetics and its application to the field of genetic improvement of farm and pet animals. To this end, the ability to properly utilize the basic biostatistical methods for the analysis of data of interest in the field of veterinary medicine and to interpret the results obtained from the analytical procedures used is also required
Examination methods: The exam is written and is based on a test with multiple-choice, true-false , and free response questions. The attending student has the opportunity to choose to be examined through three written interim checks (Applied animal genetics I, Applied biostatistics, Applied animal genetics II). To enter the verification in Animal genetics II the student must have taken and passed the verification of Applied Animal genetics I. The final grade is a weighted mean determined for 25% by the result obtained in the verification of Applied biostatistics, for 25% by that obtained in the verification of the Applied animal genetics I and for 50% by that of the verification of Applied Animal genetics II Failure to participate in one of the three interim checks undo the results of the other.
Assessment criteria: The student will be evaluated on the basis of:
a) the acquired degree of knowledge;
b) the ability to apply the methodological tools for the quantitative analysis of data of interest in veterinary medicine and the ability to interpret and critically analyze the results obtained in the biostatistical analysis;
c) the ability to make proper use of the practical tools used in animal breeding and correctly interpret the information coming from genetic evaluation and breeding programs of animal populations
Course unit contents: Applied biostatistics (3 ECTS)
Data and variables classification. The concept of sampling distribution and its use in hypothesis testing. The central limit theorem. Confidence intervals. Hypothesis testing. Correlation and regression. One-way analysis of variance. Two-way analysis of variance without and with interaction.

Lab sessions and practicals: computer-based practical application of biostatistical methods

Applied animal genetics (6 ECTS)
1) Livestock production systems.
Aims of livestock production. Meat, milk and dairy products. Dairy cattle production systems. Beef cattle production systems. Pig production. Dry-cured ham production. Pig production systems.
Breeds of livestock. Dairy cattle breeds. Beef cattle breeds. Dual-purpose cattle breeds. Pig breeds.
2) Animal breeding.
Aims and features of breeding programs. Qualitative and quantitative traits. Genetic effects and variation of quantitative traits. Breeding value. Heritability and repeatability of quantitative traits. Basics of breeding value estimation. Accuracy of estimated breeding values. Additive genetic relationships. The tabular method. Inbreeding and inbreeding depression. Prediction of breeding values. Case studies on the use of predicted breeding values and development of mating plans. Response to selection. Pathways of selection. Correlated selection response and indirect selection. Multiple-trait selection. Gene-assisted , marker-assisted and genomic selection. Crossbreeding and production of commercial crossbred animals. Breeding against hereditary diseases in the purebred dog.

Lab sessions and practicals. Computer lab on the application of the tabular method for computation of additive genetic relationships and inbreeding. Computer lab on the prediction of breeding values. Use of predicted breeding values and development of mating plans. Computation of expected responses to selection.
Planned learning activities and teaching methods: Applied animal genetics
Theoretical lectures: 54 hours
Desk-based work: 6 hours

Applied biostatistics
Theoretical lectures: 20 hours
Desk-based work: 4 hours

During the course, students interact with the teacher with the help of classroom performance system (CPS). In particular, most of the lessons begins with a series of review questions on the topics covered in the previous lecture to assess the degree of understanding by the student and to possibly propose clarifications.
The course is completed with the activities planned for the supervised practical work (hands on) that the student must perform in first person under the supervision of a teacher
Additional notes about suggested reading: The material used for lectures (powerpoint slides) is made available on the Moodle platform (
For the study of breeds of livestock, the student can access the website
A self-evaluation test that the student can undertake anonymously in the imminence of the exam can be accessed at

Office hours: an appointment with the teacher can be arranged by e-mail request on a daily basis
Textbooks (and optional supplementary readings)
  • G. Pagnacco, Genetica animale applicata. --: Casa Editrice Ambrosiana, 2004. ISBN : 8840813047 Cerca nel catalogo
  • G. Bittante, I. Andrighetto, M. Ramanzin, Fondamenti di Zootecnica. Torino: Petrini Editore, 1999. Cerca nel catalogo
  • R. Larson, B. Farber, Elementary statistics : picturing the world. --: Pearson, 2011. ISBN-10: 0321693620; Inglese
  • D.S. Falconer, Introduction to Quantitative Genetics. --: Benjamin-Cummings Publishing Company, 1996. ISBN: 0582243025; Inglese Cerca nel catalogo