First cycle
degree courses
Second cycle
degree courses
Single cycle
degree courses
School of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine
Course unit
AVP7079863, A.A. 2019/20

Information concerning the students who enrolled in A.Y. 2018/19

Information on the course unit
Degree course 5 years single cycle degree in
MV0991, Degree course structure A.Y. 2017/18, A.Y. 2019/20
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Number of ECTS credits allocated 11.0
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
E-Learning website
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 is available ONLY for students enrolled in VETERINARY MEDICINE (Ord. 2017)

Teacher in charge PAOLO CARNIER AGR/17
Other lecturers MICHELE DRIGO VET/05

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 5.0

Course unit organization
Period First semester
Year 2nd Year
Teaching method frontal

Type of hours Credits Teaching
Hours of
Individual study
Practice 2.0 20 30.0 No turn
Lecture 9.0 90 135.0 No turn

Start of activities 30/09/2019
End of activities 18/01/2020
Show course schedule 2019/20 Reg.2017 course timetable

Examination board
Board From To Members of the board
3 Commissione a.a. 2019/20 01/12/2019 30/11/2020 CARNIER PAOLO (Presidente)
DRIGO MICHELE (Membro Effettivo)
2 Commissione a.a. 2018/19 01/12/2018 30/11/2019 CARNIER PAOLO (Presidente)
DRIGO MICHELE (Membro Effettivo)

Prerequisites: Knowledge of biology and of elements of basic descriptive statistics usually provided in the secondary school
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.
In the module of Methods of Risk Analysis the aim is understanding the fundamental methodological principles of risk assessment. The student must acquire the ability to perform probabilistic calculations and understand the basic inferential procedures on data and evidence. It must also acquire the ability to understand, in the development of models, the validity and limitations of the underlying assumptions and be able to interpret graphs and tables.
Examination methods: The exam is written, is based on a test with multiple-choice, true-false , and free response questions and will deliver exercises and questions on theory. The attending student has the opportunity to choose to be examined through three written interim checks (Livestock production systems, Applied biostatistics, Applied animal genetics). To enter the verification in Applied animal genetics the student must have taken and passed the verification of Livestock production systems. 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 Livestock production systems and for 50% by that of the verification of Applied Animal genetics. Failure in participating to just one of the three interim checks undo the results of the other. In the module of Methods of Risk Analysis two partial examinations are also organized. The grade of the exam is computed as the weighted mean of the grades acquired in Methods of Risk Assessment (MAR) and in Animal Breeding and Genetics (ZGMG) as follows:
final grade = (ZGMG grade x 9 + MAR grade x 2) / 11.
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
d) the ability to perform risk calculations with critical and evaluative behavior
Course unit contents: Methods of Risk Analysis (2 ECTS)
The course introduces elements of risk analysis. Definition of risk analysis, risk assessment and risk communication. Data and variables. Measures of central tendency and variation. Probability. Sum and product theorem. Bayesian theorem. Relative risk. Probability distributions: Binomial, Poisson, Normal and Standardized Normal. Use of probability tables. Statistical inference and uncertainty. Estimation theory. Confidence intervals for means and proportions. Express and communicate the statistical uncertainty. Models of risk assessment and case-studies.

Applied biostatistics (3 ECTS)
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. Covariance analysis.

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: 50 hours
Desk-based work: 10 hours

Applied biostatistics
Theoretical lectures: 20 hours
Desk-based work: 10 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

Methods of Risk Analysis
Theoretical lectures: 20 hours with examples and in classroom discussions or case-studies.
Additional notes about suggested reading: The material used for lectures (powerpoint slides) is made available on the Moodle platform ( Additionally, students are provided with exercises and supplementary material for personal study.
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 Cerca nel catalogo
  • D.S. Falconer, Introduction to Quantitative Genetics. --: Benjamin-Cummings Publishing Company, 1996. ISBN: 0582243025; Inglese Cerca nel catalogo
  • Bernard A. Rosner, Fundamentals of Biostatistics. --: Thomson Brooks/Cole, 2005. Cerca nel catalogo
  • Michael C. Whitlock, Dolph Schluter, Analisi statistica dei dati biologici. --: Zanichelli, 2010. Cerca nel catalogo

Innovative teaching methods: Teaching and learning strategies
  • Lecturing
  • Problem solving
  • Auto correcting quizzes or tests for periodic feedback or exams
  • Loading of files and pages (web pages, Moodle, ...)

Innovative teaching methods: Software or applications used
  • Moodle (files, quizzes, workshops, ...)

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
Zero Hunger Good Health and Well-Being Responsible Consumption and Production Life on Land