78787 - Animal Production Biotechnology

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2022/2023

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course, the student has aquired the background needed i) to analyse the genome of fam animals, ii) to use genetic markers in animal breeding and selection programs aimed to improve meat and milk production traits, iii) to understand the concepts of animal breeding in the most relevant livestock species, iv) to run parentage analyses in livestock, v) to molecularly identify animals and trace individual animals and breeds, vi) to authentify animal products, vii) to monitor and run conservation programs of animal genetic resources. The student can plan studies aimed to apply new biotechnologies in animal breeding and selection and conservation of autochthonous breeds for the sustainable development of animal production chains.

Course contents

The course has 6 credits and is divided in two modules of 3 credits each.

Module 1, 3 credits (Prof. paolo Zambonelli)

Module 2, 3 credits (Dr. Giuseppina Schiavo)

Program of Module 1

1) Elements of animal productions: production systems, production chains (dairy and meat products, eggs, honey and other productions and services, transformed products).

2) the classification of livestock species, breeds, economically relevant traits in animal breeding.

3) Domestication of farm animals – domestication centres and derived genetic diversity, origin of breeds.

4) Biodiversity and conservation of genetic resources in farm animals for the sustiianability of productive systems.

5) Population genetics and genomics in livestock.

6) Basic Genetic Model for Quantitative Traits.

7) Concepts of genetic improvements and selection in livestock populations.

8) methods of genetic evaluation. Inbreeding and crossbreeding.

Program of Module 2

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

2) Genomic selection.

3) QTL analyses, genome wide association studies in pedigreed populations.

4) Molecular genetics of animal diseases resistance. One health concepts.

5) Major genes in animal breeding.

6) Genome editing in livestock species.

7) Genomics of coat colours and morphological traits in domestic animals.

8) Food genomics – applications for authenticity and traceability of animal products.


1) Slides and presentations of the lectures

2) Genetica animale. Giulio Pagnacco (Terza edizione, 2020). Casa Editrice Ambrosiana.

3) Scientific articles distributed during the lectures.

Teaching methods


Visits to the Animal and Food Genomics Laboratory.

Assessment methods

The exam will be based on an oral interview. The lessons of the two modules are both parts of the course then to pass the exam the student has to get the vote of at least 18/30 in each of the two modules representing the course. The final score will be the aritmetic average of the votes obtained for the two modules. The final score will be scaled on a total of a maximum of 30 points, with the possibility to assign a mention "with laude" if the student's performance during the interview will be particularly excellent.

The exam commission will be constituted by Prof. Paolo Zambonelli and Dr. Giuseppina Schiavo.

The interview will be based on the main topics of the course:

three questions (one on the main and general aspects; two of specific aspects).

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

Scores ranging 30-30 cum laude (30L): the student demonstrates very high expertise, relevant skills in the interpretation and critical analyses of the content of the course.

Scores ranging 27-29: the student demonstrates to have aquired a very good background, very good critical skills and technical terms.

Scores ranging 23-26: the student demonstrates a good to almost good background and technical expertise.

Scores ranging 18-22: the student demonstrates sufficient background and technicalexpertise.

Exam sessions will be planned in advance and will be available on the common platforms. The students have to register to the exam session using the AlmaEsami web platform.

Teaching tools

Slides of the lectures.

Scientific articles.

Office hours

See the website of Paolo Zambonelli

See the website of Giuseppina Schiavo