MOOC Evaluating Animal Breeding Programmes

Learn how to evaluate an ongoing breeding programme in terms of both genetic progress and genetic diversity, and how to translate that genetic progress from the breeding programme to the farmer’s work.

Organised by Wageningen University & Research
Duration 6 weeks, 4-6 hours per week
Certificate Limited course materials for free, full package (including exam and verified certificate)
Format Online
Credits Certificate
Group size >80

About this course

Animal breeding – and especially farm animal breeding – has developed into a professional industry making use of modern technology, large-scale data collection and analyses. This has resulted in very efficient and effective breeding programmes. However, there is a need for tailor-made breeding programmes in many developing countries, and for many less-common livestock and fish species. In this course, you will learn about the implementation and evaluation of both large industrial scale breeding programmes and tailor-made breeding programmes in terms of genetic progress and genetic diversity.

Together with other course participants, you will explore the reasons behind crossbreeding in relation to the dissemination of genetic improvement. It is essential to know how key biological factors affect the structure of a breeding programme and to understand the various possible structures of a breeding programme.

This this will teach you how to properly evaluate breeding programmes. Through a number of short informative films and assignments, you will learn how to assess the effects of legislation, competition, GxE (gene-environment interaction), and new technology on breeding programmes.

A special section of this course is devoted to monogenic recessive disorders. These disorders play an important role in breeding programmes 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 disorders.

Upon completion of this course, you will be able to make informed decisions when setting up a breeding programme for a specific animal in a specific production system, and recognise and identify key elements of the course in real-life examples of breeding programmes.

Knowledge of statistics at second or third-year university level is needed to follow this course successfully. This course partially builds on knowledge gained in ‘Genetic Models for Animal Breeding’.

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

  • Cows
  • Poultry/chickens
  • Horses
  • Pig/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, Genetic Models for Animal Breeding, and advance your career as a breeder.

The course is developed with financial support and input from the Koepon Foundation.

What you will learn

  • the basics of evaluating breeding programmes
  • about crossbreeding and dissemination of genetic improvement
  • how to evaluate breeding programmes
  • about genetic diversity in monogenic recessive disorders
  • about genetic diversity at population level
  • about breeding programmes in practice

Meet the instructors