Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Animal Breeding and Genetics
Academic Year
Semester 1
Reading List
Other Staff

Course Delivery



Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Quantitative Genetics assignment (2,000 words)  25%
Semester Assessment Molecular Genetics and Bioinformatics assignment  (2,000 words).  25%
Semester Exam 3 Hours   50%
Supplementary Assessment Students must take elements of assessment equivalent to those that led to failure of the module.  50%
Supplementary Exam 3 Hours   Students must take elements of assessment equivalent to those that led to failure of the module.  50%

Learning Outcomes

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

1. Discuss the relationship of phenotype to genotype and environment and the problems that arise in identifying animals of superior breeding value.

2. Identify the biological, economic and practical constraints that influence the success of genetic improvement programmes.

3. Conceptualize how molecular technologies may be applied to domestic animals.

4. Differentiate between molecular technologies and choose the most appropriate method(s) for a particular purpose.

5. Describe the applications of molecular genetics to the study of genetic abnormalities and the improvement of domestic animals.

6. Apply bioinformatical studies to the relationship between domesticated animals and their gene function.

7. Evaluate scientific, practical and ethical issues in the genetic improvement of domestic animals.

Brief description

This module considers the potential for genetic improvement of domesticated animals for economic traits. Starting with an overview of the principles of Mendelian inheritance applied to coat colour, disease and polymorphisms suitable for parentage testing, this course advances to a discussion of the effects inbreeding and heterosis. The principles of quantitative genetics are outlined and their application to the improvement of domesticated animals is discussed.
The module will consider the application of molecular genetics to domesticated animals. It will give students an understanding of the methodologies applied in molecular genetics and related disciplines (e.g. proteomics, metabolomics, etc.) and to allow them to conceptualize and apply them to Animal Science, Equine Science and livestock production. Having gained an insight into how DNA technology can be applied to this area. Students will also gain an understanding of the interpretation of these data via the relatively new discipline of bioinformatics.


To outline the principles of Mendelian and quantitative genetics and their application to the genetic improvement of domestic animals.
To understand the methodologies used in molecular genetics, bioinformatics and related disciplines (e.g. proteomics, metabolomics, etc.) and consider their application to domestic animals.


Two lectures per week and practical classes delivered appropriately throughout the semester.
Principles of Mendelian and quantitative genetics (weeks 1 - 4)
Applications of quantitative genetics (weeks 5 - 11)
Introduction to molecular biology and -omics technologies and their applications (weeks 1 - 7)
Bioinformatics (weeks 8 - 11)

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Applications of statistical concepts will be developed throughout the course and assessed in assignment and exam.
Communication Developed during formal teaching and formative exercises and assessed in assignment and exam.
Improving own Learning and Performance Developed through lab work, formative exercises and guided study.
Information Technology Sourcing of information from a range of scientific publication data bases to provide information for lab work and assignments. Bioinformatical analysis. Assessed in assignments.
Personal Development and Career planning
Problem solving Skills developed in practical classes and assessed in assignments.
Research skills Laboratory skills and interpretation of research papers.
Subject Specific Skills Interpretation of subject specialist research; application of knowledge of quantitative and molecular genetics to animal breeding and improvement. Assessed in assignment and exam.
Team work Developed in lab work


This module is at CQFW Level 7