Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Animal Breeding
Academic Year
Semester 2
External Examiners
  • Dr Robert Baxter (Senior Lecturer - University of Durham)
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Seminar 3 x 3 Hour Seminars
Lecture 22 x 1 Hour Lectures


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 40%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   60%
Supplementary Assessment Students must take elements of assessment equivalent to those that led to failure of the module.  40%
Supplementary Exam 2 Hours   Students must take elements of assessment equivalent to those that led to failure of the module.  60%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

1. Explain the key principles of quantitative genetics and their application to the genetic improvement of

2. Discuss the choice of selection objectives for different classes of animal and the design of breeding
schemes to achieve them.

3. Evaluate the factors that influence the rate of genetic progress in animal breeding programmes.

4. Identify needs for further research and development.

Brief description

This module aims to provide an understanding of the methods used in the genetic improvement of performance, health and behaviour in horses, farm livestock and other domestic animals. The module begins with a study of the importance of genetic and environmental causes of variation in animal performance traits and other key concepts of quantitative genetics. Following this introduction, students may choose to specialise in the study of methods of genetic improvement of horses and/or farm livestock and companion animals.


This module considers the definition of selection objectives for domestic animals, the inheritance of simple, discrete and continuously variable traits, the concept of heritability and its use in the prediction of response to selection, genetic correlation and the problems of simultaneous selection for multiple traits, relative importance of selection between and within established breeds, the effects of crossbreeding (heterosis and complementarity) and inbreeding on animal performance, creation of composite breeds, structure and design of breeding schemes for racing and sport horses, dairy and beef cattle, sheep, pigs and companion animals, applications of reproductive technologies and molecular genetics in genetic improvement programmes

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Use of numerical information in the prediction of response to selection and in the interpretation and use of breeding values and selection indices in animal improvement. Assessed by exam.
Communication Formal written report in the assignment.
Improving own Learning and Performance Self-directed study will be supported by the provision of e-learning materials that are designed to improve learning in this subject.
Information Technology Use of Word in the preparation of the assignment
Personal Development and Career planning Subject will raise awareness of the skills needed, and the opportunities for employment in the animal breeding industries.
Problem solving The student will be able to identify how scientific knowledge is used to solve technical problems in the development of genetic improvement schemes. Assessed by assignment and exam.
Research skills The assignment will involve an element of literature review and report writing.
Subject Specific Skills
Team work


This module is at CQFW Level 6