ASC421 Animal Genetics (8)

This subject involves an in-depth examination of genetic principles, from the molecular level, through Mendelian genetics to quantitative genetics applied to populations of domestic animals, captive and free wild animals. Study of this subject includes genetic theory and its application to existing breeding programs for production, performance, working and companion animals.


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

Continuing students should consult the SAL for current offering details: ASC421. 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

Enrolment Restrictions

This subject is for students in an approved postgraduate course.

Incompatible Subjects


Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
  • be able to apply inheritance concepts to explain the occurrence of common problems or opportunities for genetic improvement in animals and animal production, including genes which contribute to increased susceptibility to disease, increased resistance to disease, resilience to disease, or cause disease directly
  • be able to apply genetics principles to the selection for anthelmintic, insecticide or antibiotic resistance in invertebrates and microorganisms that cause diseases in animals
  • be able to devise a practical breeding program for breeders of farm animals, performance animals, working animals and companion animals
  • be able to distinguish between the important genetic decisions to be made by seedstock producers and commercial producers of livestock
  • be able to use mathematical expressions which are common in quantitative genetics to predict the outcomes of particular approaches to genetic improvement
  • be able to devise and use simple (or complex) mathematical models, to develop, analyse and experiment with genetic decisions
  • be able to use appropriate computer software programs to analyse data arising from genetic research
  • be able to apply genetics principles to the breeding of unfamiliar animal species or populations
  • be able to provide informed advice to lay persons and scientists about the merits of particular genetic decisions or genetic selection programs


This subject will cover the following topics:

- The basic mechanisms of inheritance including the structure, role and behaviour of chromosomes and genes
- Mendelian inheritance and the factors that effect the segregation of genes
- The common phenotypes that are determined or influenced by one or a few genes, including coat colour and disorders with a genetic basis
- Molecular genetics, how DNA forms genes, how proteins are formed from DNA, and how modern molecular genetic techniques can be applied in animal breeding
- The behaviour of genes in populations of animals and the common mathematical models used to predict genetic events in animal populations
- Quantitative genetics and its application in animal breeding programs, from single herd or flock level up to national and international programs
- The factors which affect the success of breeding programs
- The application of advanced breeding technologies like AI, MOET, sexed semen and others to breeding programs and the implications of these for genetic improvement of animals
- The basis and application of cross-breeding programs
- The genetic evaluation programs commonly used in Australasia for dairy cattle, beef cattle, wool sheep, meat sheep, pigs and poultry (egg and meat)
- The industry structures which affect the way that genetic evaluation programs work in each species, and how genetic theories are best applied
- The issues currently facing breeders of the common domesticated species of animals in Australasia

Indicative Assessment

The following table summarises the assessment tasks for the online offering of ASC421 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
Literature review
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.