AN SC 384 Principles of Animal Genetics

An introduction to the basic principles of animal genetics and their practical application in selection strategies, breeding systems, and methods of improvement for domestic animals. See the course syllabus for more details.

Learning outcomes:

  • Describe the objectives, challenges, and strategies associated with animal genetic improvement.
  • Explain the relationships between genes, alleles, proteins, Mendelian traits, and polygenic traits.
  • Describe factors that change allele and genotype frequencies in populations over time.
  • Devise strategies for selecting for simply inherited traits.
  • Describe the genetic model for quantitative traits and related concepts.
  • Calculate population measures commonly used in animal breeding.
  • Define, explain the practical significance of, and calculate the heritability and repeatability of traits.
  • Predict how various factors will affect the rate of genetic change.
  • Describe the key sources of information used to estimate genetic merit and how they influence the accuracy of predictions.
  • Describe approaches for characterizing and addressing genetic correlations.
  • Describe and predict the effects of inbreeding, outbreeding, and heterosis.
  • Design breeding and mating programs to improve animal performance.
  • Describe how genome editing and reproductive technologies can enhance animal genetic improvement.

AN SC 485 Animal Genetics and Breeding

Application of genetic and genomic principles and methods to the improvement of livestock and poultry. See the course syllabus for more details.

Learning outcomes:

  • Define and explain genetics and genomics terms and concepts.
  • Describe and interpret recent papers related to the discovery or application of gene function information in animals.
  • Apply knowledge of gene structure and function in order to predict the impacts of known and hypothetical DNA changes on phenotype.
  • Build upon genomics and genetics concepts, tools, and knowledge in order to devise strategies for modifying animal traits.
  • Describe the principles of genetic evaluation and will be able to predict the genetic merit of breeding stocks using pedigree, phenotype, and DNA marker data for quantitative traits.
  • Make genetic selection decisions based on single and multiple traits and will be able to predict and monitor genetic improvement rates.
  • Apply knowledge of non-additive genetic influence on performance traits in order to develop strategies to maximize animal performance.

AFNS 508 Applied Bioinformatics

Introduction to databases, software tools, and analysis methods used to characterize DNA and protein sequences. Topics include information retrieval from sequence databases, protein function prediction, assessing sequence similarity, measuring gene expression, and the analysis of high-throughput sequencing data. See the course syllabus for more details.

Learning outcomes:

  • Apply knowledge of gene structure and function in order to predict the impacts of known and hypothetical DNA changes on phenotype.
  • Extract and interpret sequence information using popular web-based databases and tools from NCBI, EBI, and UCSC.
  • Use command-line-interface software to perform routine bioinformatics operations and analyses.
  • Use R and Bioconductor to perform statistical analyses of data produced by high-throughput instruments.
  • Process short-read and long-read sequence data to identify sequence variation, assemble genomes, and measure gene expression.
  • Organize bioinformatics projects, and plan and document data transformations and analyses using Markdown, R Markdown, and Jupyter Notebooks.
  • Execute Snakemake and Nextflow workflows.
  • Analyze data using interactive and batch jobs on a computer cluster.

AN SC 479/AN SC 499 Integrative Problem Solving Project in Animal Science and Animal Health

A team-based capstone course to explore broad areas of animal science and animal health through student projects. Students work in groups with mentors in order to gain integrative and experiential learning and develop skills related to the field. See the course syllabus for more details.

Learning outcomes:

  • Select and assess reference materials and use them to compose a literature review within a defined area of livestock production science or animal health science covering relevant issues which may include management, regulations, guidelines or industry practices.
  • Integrate and build upon concepts, tools, information, and knowledge from undergraduate programs and relevant literature in order to formulate a research plan for addressing a practical problem related to animal health or animal science.
  • Carry out a research plan in order to produce scientifically justified results and recommendations in the form of a scientific publication and one or more project deliverables. Students will choose the formats for their deliverables, to suit their target audience and the particular problem being addressed. Potential project deliverables include trade publications, web sites, scientific posters, consulting reports, informational posters, and videos.
  • Integrate a developing awareness of industry practices, regulations, and public perceptions acquired through ongoing discussions with mentors, team members, and course instructors into project plans and deliverables. Students will describe their efforts in a reflective journal.