ASC221 Animal Genetics (8)

This subject presents an introduction on basic genetic principles (molecular and Mendelian genetics) and builds on these to introduce basic concepts of population and quantitative genetics that are used in breeding livestock populations (e.g. quantitative traits, heritability, genetic selection, inbreeding). This subject emphasises the application of elementary genetic theory to genetic improvement of livestock. However these principles are also relevant to students interested in quantitative traits in companion, performance or wild animal populations.


Session 2 (60)
On Campus
Wagga Wagga Campus
Wagga Wagga Campus

Continuing students should consult the SAL for current offering details: ASC221. Where differences exist between the Handbook and the SAL, the SAL should be taken as containing the correct subject offering details.

Subject Information

Grading System



One session


School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences

Assumed Knowledge

BIO100 Concepts of Biology OR VSC113 Fundamentals of Veterinary Biology

Subject Relationships

ASC421 Paired Subject

Incompatible Subjects


Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
  • be able to identify and apply basic principles and concepts of DNA structure (and sequence), central dogma and chromosome structure including their significance in the context of health and disease;
  • be able to identify and apply principles and concepts associated with the interaction between genes and alleles, and how this results in the occurrence of commonly observed traits and diseases in animals;
  • be able to identify and apply principles underlying inheritance of genes in populations, and be able to apply these principles to predict the impact of breeding decisions on gene and genotype frequencies in populations;
  • be able to devise a practical breeding program for breeders of livestock or other animals;
  • be able to identify and discuss the important genetic decisions to be made in different breeding enterprises;
  • be able to use mathematical expressions which are common in quantitative genetics to predict the outcomes of particular approaches to genetic improvement; and
  • be able to summarise the industry structures commonly in place for the breeding of production animals and be able to provide informed advice to lay persons and scientists about the merits of particular genetic selection programs.


This subject will cover the following topics:
  • Introduction to Genetics (brief introduction on DNA, flow of information inside the cell, gene structure and mutations);
  • Chromosomal structure and organisation, cell division and gametogenesis;
  • Inter- and intra-allelic relationship, Mendelian diseases;
  • Patterns of inheritance and population genetics;
  • Quantitative Genetics 1: inheritance of traits controlled by multiple genes - basic principles;
  • Quantitative Genetics 2: response to selection, inbreeding and cross breeding;
  • Breeding values, Best Linear Unbiased Prediction (BLUP) and genetic correlation;
  • Multiple trait selection, selection index, breeding objectives, selection criteria;
  • Genetic markers, markers associated with selection, Genomic Best Linear Unbiased Prediction (GBLUP); and
  • Industry structures and breeding programmes in livestock production.

Indicative Assessment

The following table summarises the assessment tasks for the online offering of ASC221 in Session 2 2020. Please note this is a guide only. Assessment tasks are regularly updated and can also differ to suit the mode of study (online or on campus).

Item Number
Value %
Online progress tests
Question & problem based assignments
Final exam

The information contained in the CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: May 2021. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.