MOOC Genetic Models for Animal Breeding

Understand the genetic and statistic principles that enable responsible animal breeding. Learn how to set up a breeding programme and apply genetic models and tools to predict the breeding value. Subscribe to this online course now.

Organised by Wageningen University & Research
Duration 6 weeks 4-6 hours per week

Why follow this course?

Implementation & evaluation of breeding programs
Animal breeding, and especially breeding of farm animals and aquaculture species, has developed into a professional industry with modern technologies, large-scale data collection, and analyses. This has resulted in very efficient and effective breeding programs. However, in many developing countries, and for many lesser-known livestock and fish species there is a need for tailor-made breeding programs. In this MOOC, you will learn about the implementation and evaluation of both large industrial scale and the tailor-made breeding programs, in terms of genetic progress and genetic diversity.

Together with other learners, you will dive into the reasons behind crossbreeding in relation to dissemination of genetic improvement. It is essential to know how key biological factors affect the structure of a breeding program and to understand the different structures a breeding program can have.

Join this course and learn everything about how to properly evaluate breeding programs. In several knowledge clips and assignments, you will learn how to assess the effects of legislation, competition, GxE and new technology on breeding programs.

Eliminating diseases
Two sections are devoted to genetic diversity and, more specifically, to (i) monogenic recessive disorders, and (ii) genetic diversity at the population level. Monogenic recessive disorders play an important role in breeding programs for companion animals such as dogs and horses. Modern DNA sequencing technology now makes it possible not only to detect these mutations but also to design breeding strategies aimed at eliminating these diseases. Genetic diversity at population level is important to maintain flexibility in populations and to keep animal populations healthy. In this course, you will learn more about how to monitor and conserve genetic diversity in breeding programmes.

After finishing this course, you can make informed decisions when setting up a breeding program for a specific animal in a specific production system and recognize and identify key elements of the course in real-life examples of breeding programs.

Please know that knowledge of statistics at a 2nd or 3rd year university level is needed to follow this course successfully. This course partially builds on knowledge gained in the MOOC Genetic Models for Animal Breeding.

Is this course for you?

Although this course is open to everyone, it is particularly useful for breeders of:

  • Cows
  • Poultry/chickens
  • Horses
  • Pigs/swine
  • Dogs
  • Sheep
  • Goat
  • Fish
  • Prawns/shrimp

Professional Certificate Programme: Animal Breeding and Genetics

This course is part of the Professional Certificate Programme Animal Breeding and Genetics. Join the other course in the programme, Evaluating Animal Breeding Programmes, and advance your career as a breeder.

The course is developed with financial support and input from the Koepon Foundation and the African Chicken Genetic Gains project.

This course will teach you:

  • the steps required in setting up a breeding programme
  • the main concepts involved in animal breeding
  • how to applying genetic models and tools to predict the breeding value of animals
  • how to predict genetic change and/or inbreeding in populations