Animal genetics and selection

A.Y. 2020/2021
10
Max ECTS
104
Overall hours
SSD
AGR/17
Language
Italian
Learning objectives
The teaching activity, divided in three units, aims to provide the student the basic knowledge in animal genetics, livestock ethnography, and genetic improvement in the main farm species, both at theoretical level and application to the management of populations and herds. Class teaching, class exercises and class discussions contribute to the learning objectives.  
Expected learning outcomes
Knowledge and understanding of the basic principles of animal genetics, livestock ethnography and genetic improvement. Applying acquired knowledge to simple simulated cases.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Responsible
Lesson period
First semester
Lectures will be conducted in presence in class, or on the TEAMS platform, following the official timetable. It will be possibile to follow lectures either in synchronous and asynchronous mode, as registered on the TEAMS platform.
No modifications to the programme and to the didatctic material.
Exams will be held either in presence in class or on the TEAMS platform, to be agreed.
Course syllabus
TEACHING UNIT - GENETICA DI BASE
Frontal lectures 24 hours:
Resuming concepts of euploidia, cell cycle, mitosis, meiosis and cell differentiation. Architecture of genomic and mitochondrial DNA, transcription, the genetic code, translation, RNA interfering, (2 hours)

Karyotype, speciation and genetic variability, homology, transmission of characters.
Concepts of locus, gene, gene mutation, alleles, SNP and genetic polymorphism, genotype, phenotype, homozygosity and heterozygosity. (4 hours)

Mendelian genetics with examples of transmission in different species of phenotypic traits. (4 hours)

Exceptions to Mendelian genetics (codominance, intermediate dominance, gender affected and limited characters, X-linked characters and genes, lethal genes). Family Tree analysis (4 hours)

Concepts of interaction, epistasis, pleiotropy, expressivity, penetrance, prevalence, and brief overview of epigenetic (genomic imprinting, methylation, acetylation, gene silencing). (4 hours)

Quantitative traits and heritability (definition, range, examples).
Calculating phenotype, genotype, allele frequency. What is a private allele
Molecular markers (microsatellites, SNPs and genetic profile) and their application for paterentage control, diagnosis of inherited diseases and genomic selection. Concepts of linkage, linkage disequilibrium and haplotype (6 hours)

Practice 16 hours:
Class exercises of classical genetics.
Practical demonstrations of: extraction of gDNA animal, PCR and agarose gel electrophoresis, fragment analysis and nucleotide sequencing

TEACHING UNIT - ZOOTECNICA GENERALE E PRINCIPI DI SELEZIONE
Frontal lectures 16 hours:
Species and breed concepts. Main livestock breeds: origin, physical characteristics, productions (4 hours)
Breed organization and management, animal registration (1 hour)
Traits selected in the different species. Performance recording (3 hours)
Qualitative and quantitative traits (2 hours)
Infinitesimal model (2 hours)
Phenotype adjustment (2 hours)
Genetic parameters: heritability, repeatability, correlations (2 hours)
Practice 16 hours:
Exercises on the main topics

TEACHING UNIT - GESTIONE GENETICA E MIGLIORAMENTO DELLE POPOLAZIONI
Frontal lectures 16 hours:
Principles of population genetics: genes and populations: Genotype and gene frequencies ; Hardy‐Weinberg law; Effects of selection, migation, mutation and genetic drift on gene freqeuncies (2 hrs.);
Kinship and inbreeding; computation from genealogies and genetic markers; Risks associated to high inbreeding; Population effective size and inbreeding rates (2 hrs.)
The selection index and its accuracy I momenti della selezione; dal fenotipo aggiustato all'indice genetico ; accuratezza dell'indice (2 hrs.);
Selection response; Progeny, Sib and Performance tests; Selection and inbreeding control (2 hrs.)
Genetic improvement in livestock populations in Italy: seminars in collaboration with the course "Zootecnica generale e principi di selezione" (4 hrs.)
Biodiversity, animal genetic resources conservation and valorization (2 hrs. )
Principles of genomic selection (2 hrs.)

Practice 16 hours:
Genotype and gene frequencies ; Hardy‐Weinberg law; Effects of selection, migation, mutation and genetic drift on gene freqeuncies (3 hrs.);
Kinship and inbreeding, computation from genealogies and from genetic markers; Population effective size (4 hrs.);
The selection index and its accuracy (5 hrs.);
Selection response (4 hrs.);
Prerequisites for admission
Before the Course in "Genetica e Selezione Zootecnica", we suggest to take the courses in Biologia, Matematica and Biochimica
Teaching methods
Lectures and exercises in class
Teaching Resources
Didactic material is available on ARIEL, on the pages of the three teachers.
Assessment methods and Criteria
A single written examination, including exercises and open questions. The final grade is the weighted average of the grades obtained in the three teaching units.
Unita' didattica: Genetica di base
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Lessons: 24 hours
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Unita' didattica: Gestione genetica e miglioramento delle popolazioni
AGR/17 - LIVESTOCK SYSTEMS, ANIMAL BREEDING AND GENETICS - University credits: 3
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Lessons: 16 hours
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