91160 - Livestock Genomics

Course Unit Page


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Zero hunger Responsible consumption and production Climate Action Life on land

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

At the end of the lectures, the student has the background needed to analyse the genome of the most important farm animal species (cattle, pig, sheep, goat, rabbit, poultry and other species), to use genomic information in selection and breeding plans, conservation and management plans of animal populations for the sustainable use of animal diversity. The student can plan genome wide association studies to identify genomic regions affecting economic relevant traits and other relevant phenotypes. The student can also apply genomic technologies for the authentication of animal products.

Course contents

Elements of livestock husbandry and animal productions: breeds, production systems, production chains (dairy and meat products, eggs, honey and other productions and services). Economically relevant traits in animal breeding.

Domestication of farm animals – domestication centres and derived genetic diversity

Biodiversity and conservation of genetic resources in farm animals

Population genomics in animal breeds and selection signature

Basic Genetic Model for Quantitative Traits

Concepts of genetic improvements and selection in livestock populations

Genomic selection, inbreeding and crossbreeding

Genomic analyses in dairy cattle, beef cattle, pig, sheep, goat, rabbit, horse, poultry species (chicken and turkey), honey bee, dog and aquaculture species

Genomics in apiculture

Genome wide association studies in pedigreed populations

Genomics and phenomics in livestock

Molecular genetics of animal diseases

Single genes in animal breeding and genome editing in farm animals

Genomics of coat colours and morphological traits in domestic animals

Food genomics – applications for authenticity and traceability of animal products


Molecular and Quantitative Animal Genetics. H. Khatib - 2015 - Wiley Blackwell

The Genetics of Cattle. D. Garrick, A. Ruvinsky - 2014 - CABI

Genomic selection in pigs: state of the art and perspectives - A.B. Samorè, L. Fontanesi - https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/1828051X.2016.1172034

Lawrie´s Meat Science (Eight Edition) - 2017 - Chapter 19 - Meat Authenticity and Traceability. L. Fontanesi

Genomic Selection in Animals. J. I. Weller - 2016 - John Wiley & Sons, Inc

Teaching methods

Lectures and construction of genomic projects in livestock

Assessment methods

Interview on the main topic of the course:

three questions (one on the main and general aspects of livestock genomics and breeding; one of genomic applications in a livestock species; one on the discussion of a genomic project)

The final score (from 1 to 30L) will be derived from the weighted mean of the score of the three questions (first question weight 50%, second and third questions weight 25%).

Teaching tools

PPT slides of the lectures, scientific articles on livestock genomics

Office hours

See the website of Luca Fontanesi