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MSc/Diploma in Animal Breeding and Genetics

Complex traits are determined by the combined action of several genes and the environment. They are characterised in quantitative terms using statistical methods and it is widely recognised that susceptibility to prevalent infections in domesticated animals can be so described, as can classical animal production traits.

The development of genomic technology in recent years has had an immense impact on all areas of genetics. Genetic mapping and genome sequencing programmes of human, mouse and other organisms have generated many markers for mapping genes influencing complex traits. These developments have led to a requirement for training young researchers working in the area of genome studies in population and statistical genetics, quantitative genetics and bioinformatics in an environment which exposes them to state-of-the-art science.

This programme is based in the Institute of Evolutionary Biology and the Roslin Institute at the University of Edinburgh in collaboration with staff working at Scotland's Rural College. It provides training in genetics and quantitative skills which are increasingly required by industry and research to exploit the explosion of information in genomics. Students gain the knowledge and skills required to apply quantitative genetics theory to practical problems in the animal-science industry, and to undertake research in quantitative genetics, genome analysis and animal improvement.

Students selecting the Animal Breeding and Genetics option start by acquiring core skills in quantitative genetics and genome analysis as described in the Programme Overview. In Semester 2, students take a specialist course in animal improvement and prepare a written project proposal based on the subject of their forthcoming 3-month research project. To fulfil the requirements for the MSc degree, students then proceed to a full-time research project over the summer, culminating in a dissertation.

Students who successfully complete the appropriate period of study can elect to graduate with a Diploma or MSc in Quantitative Genetics and Genome Analysis or with a Diploma or MSc in Animal Breeding and Genetics.


For more information about this programme, click on the links below:

Animal Breeding and Genetics Topics
Teaching schedule (pdf)








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