Genetics and animal reproduction

A.Y. 2020/2021
Overall hours
AGR/17 VET/01
Learning objectives
Learning and improvement of knowledge related to genetic improvement and animal reproduction of domestic animals.

The objectives of the teaching "Animal breeding and Biotechnology" are to provide a strong knowledge on the theoretical and practical tools and biotechnologies applied to animal breeding, considering the sustainability of the livestock.

The objectives of the teaching "Technologies of Animal Reproduction" are to improve the knowledge of anatomy and physiology of the reproductive trait of the principal domestic animals and teach classical and new reproductive techniques used for management of reproduction, health and efficiency of animal breeding.
Expected learning outcomes
The student will be able to analyse with acute spirit the updates on the genetic and genomic indexes obtained by different breed associations. Also, he will be able to evaluate the genetic and statistical parameters used for the evaluation of the animal as well as he will be able to get information based on the analysis of molecular data related to the animal breeding. The student will be trained on the principal statistical tools that can be used for the preservation of farm animal biodiversity and for tracking products of animal origin. He will learn the techniques related to the animal reproduction, including artificial reproductive techniques, and techniques useful for the cost-effective management of reproductive compartment of animal breeding.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
Second semester
It is not possible to make a prevision on the trend of pandemic COVID-19. The first semester has started with a mixed manner of teaching (live and online classes). For the second semester of this academic year, we hope to start live classes only. However, we will update you about the planning of the classes here and on the teaching websites before the semester will start.
Prerequisites for admission
Prerequisites of the course are reported below for both Teachings.

For the Teaching of 'Animal breeding and Biotechnology' it is necessary to have a solid knowledge of Mendelian genetics and genetics of population. Moreover, it is necessary to have a solid knowledge of Methodologies applied to Agriculture and ability to work using Microsoft excel.

For the Teaching of 'Technologies of Animal Reproduction' it is necessary to have a solid knowledge of Anatomy and physiology of Domestic Animals.

The prerequisites and the procedure of examination is the same for the students that will or will not attend the classes.

It is really recommended to attend the classes.
Assessment methods and Criteria
The exam will be an oral examination. The final mark will be calculated as weighted average of the mark that the student will get in the 2 different teachings: "Animal breeding and Biotechnology" and that of "Technologies of Animal Reproduction".
In particular, the exam for each teaching will be to discuss a topic freely selected by the student as well as questions on other topics or questions to solve problems related to the subjects of the program.
For both Teachings, the exam mark will be based on:
- ability to discuss the state of the art of a topic that the student will freely choose between the discussed subjects during classes;
- theoretical knowledge of the topics of Teachings;
- practical knowledge of the subject matter of Teachings;
- ability to speak technical language correlated with Teachings.
Specific materials are not necessary for taking the exam.
Miglioramento genetico e biotecnologie in zootecnia
Course syllabus
LECTURES (5 CFU: 40 h)
Genetics and Animal Breeding: an overview and short history: from the pre-mendelian period to genome editing (2 hs) Recalls of classical genetics: Mendel, Linkage disequilibrium (3 hs). Population genetics: Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium (2 hs). Evolution of animal populations: genetic drift, founder effect, bottleneck migration (4 hs)
Quantitative genetics: polygenic model, statistical parameters, selection tools; genetic variability, heritability, and repeatability of traits of interest (3 hs). Kinship and inbreeding, path coefficient, and tabular methods (4 hs).
Prediction of genetic progress and comparison of selection programs: Genetic progress by generation and by year: genetic variability, selection intensity, generation interval, accuracy (3 hs) The four ways for genetic gain. Factors of variation of genetic progress: species, sex, method of reproduction, methods for genetic evaluation (2 hs).

Evolution of methods and models for estimated breeding values: comparison between contemporaries, BLUP animal model, test day model. Reliability of the EBV (4 hs). Main genetic indexes used in Italy (2 hs). International evaluations: Interbull and ICAR (1 h). Genomic selection indexes (2 hs). Genetic improvement in the farm: tools available to breeders for the choice of sires and dams (2h)
Biotechnology applied to animal breeding. Basic techniques: PCR, restriction enzymes, sequencing. Molecular markers used in animal husbandry - microsatellites, SNPs (2 hs). The genomes of the main farm animal species: evolution of methods and available information (1h). Identifications of genomic regions under natural and anthropic selection (1 h). Genetic markers for the traceability of animal production, for the study and management of farm animal genetic resources, for the assessment of the genomic background of animals and breeds (2 hs) The estimation of genomic relationship (1 h).
Web-sites of the breeders' associations and other sources of information on the organization of animal breeding and genetics (4 hs). Using software to calculate the main genetic statistics for animal breeding and animal population management (4 hs), animal genomic databases: searching for information about traits, genes, QTLs, and pathway (4 hs). Visit to a center of animal breeding (4 hs)
Teaching methods
'Animal breeding and Biotechnology' is organized into classes corresponding to 5 CFUs (40 hs) and practical training for 3 CFUs (16 hs). The practical training will be carried out using PC and specific software (12hs) and visits at centres of animal breeding (4 h).
The student will acquire the updated knowledge on the theory of the teaching during classes.
During practical training, the student will apply the techniques for the analysis of genetic and genomic data in order to understand the topics of the classes. Finally, the visits will be useful to show the management of companies related to the teachings.
Teaching Resources
The recommended book is Genetica Animale Pagnacco G. Ed. Casa Ambrosiana .Slides and materials (such as datasets, link and scientific papers as well as webpages) of the classes will be uploaded on Ariel website of Educational Unit 'Animal breeding and Biotechnology' (

The materials to study are identical for attending and not-attending students.
Not-attending students are recommended to contact the professor using the e-mail address to ask for having clarifications.
Tecnologie della riproduzione animale
Course syllabus
The program of the Teaching is divided into hours as follows:
LECTURES (3 CFU: 24 hrs)
Anatomy of male and female reproductive organs including differences between farm animal species (2 hrs). Physiology of male and female gametogenesis (2 hrs). The estrus cycle in farm animal species (2 hrs). Artificial Insemination (2 hrs). Semen cryopreservation (2 hrs). Control and manipulation of the estrus cycle (2 hrs). Embryo transfer (2 hrs). Embryo cryopreservation (2 hrs). Ovum pick up and in vitro fertilization (2 hrs). Genomics applied to animal reproductions (2 hrs). Epigenetic applied to animal reproduction (2 hrs). Cloning and genome editing (2 hrs).
Thawing, evaluation and capacitation of bovine semen (4 hrs). Collection and evaluation of bovine oocytes from slaughterhouse ovaries (4 hrs). Visit to a private company the steps for preservation of bovine semen (4 hrs). Visit to a private lab to see an in vitro embryo production (4 hrs).
Teaching methods
The Teaching of 'Technologies of Animal Reproduction' is organized into: classes for 3 CFU (24 hrs) and practical trainings for 1 CFU (16 hrs). The practical trainings are divided into 0.5 CFU (8 hrs) for laboratories and 0.5 CFU (8 hrs) for visits at centers of animal reproduction.
During classes, the students will acquire theorical knowledges on the Artificial Reproductive Techniques (such as collection, evaluation and storage of semen, collection and manipulation of oocytes, manipulation of oestrus cycle, in vivo and in vitro embryo production) of the principal species of zootechnical interests.
During practical trainings, the student will learn how to manipulate with bovine spermatozoa and oocytes. Finally, the visits will allow the student to see local companies related to the management of animal reproduction of zootechnical field.
Teaching Resources
The reference textbooks of the Teaching are:
In Italian:
'Riproduzione negli animali d'allevamento' by E. S. Hafez, B. Hafez, Editor:
In English:
Pathways to Pregnancy and Parturition, 3rd Edition, a cura di L. Senger
Moreover, scientific papers of the topics of the Teaching and power point presentations of the classes will be uploaded on the website of the Teaching (
The materials to study are identical for attending and not-attending students. Not-attending students are recommended to contact the professor using the e-mail address to ask for having clarifications.
Miglioramento genetico e biotecnologie in zootecnia
Field activity: 4 hours
Computer room practicals: 12 hours
Lessons: 40 hours
Professor: Crepaldi Paola
Tecnologie della riproduzione animale
VET/01 - VETERINARY ANATOMY - University credits: 4
Field activity: 8 hours
Laboratories: 8 hours
Lessons: 24 hours
keeping an appointment by e-mail
Sezione di Zootecnica Agraria, 1st floor, Via Celoria 2
On request with appointment by e-mail