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ACE2068 : Domestic Animal Reproduction and Genetic Improvement

  • Offered for Year: 2019/20
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Andrew Beard
  • Lecturer: Dr Miguel Velazquez
  • Other Staff: Dr Matthew Leach
  • Owning School: Natural and Environmental Sciences
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0


The overall aim of the module is to enable students to understand the physiology of reproduction and the underlying principles and application of the methods used to artificially control reproduction and achieve genetic improvement.

Outline Of Syllabus

(A) Physiology of reproduction (approx. 6 hours),
….. incl. production of gametes, oestrous cycle, mating, pregnancy and postpartum
(B) Artificial control of reproduction (purpose and practice – approx. 4 hours of lectures/ plus 2hrs video)
…..incl. Oestrus synchronisation. Control of ovulation and MOET. AI techniques and their development
(C) Introduction to genetic improvement (overview and vocabulary) and general principles of animal breeding (approx.. 7hrs of lectures)
….. incl. Strategies for animal breeding, Genetic improvement in quantitative traits, Factors affecting the rate of genetic improvement,Predicting breeding values, BLUP, Selection for multiple objectives,
(D) Specifics of genetic improvement in various species of animals (approx. 3 hrs of lectures and farm visits incl. probably sheep, beef and dairy breed improvement schemes and genetic problems (and solutions) in companion animals

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion16:006:00Preparation of Lab report
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion112:0012:00Revision for Semester 1 examination and Semester 1 examination
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture211:0021:00Introduce principles and practices involved in control of reproduction and improving genetic merit
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical13:003:00Practical examining reproductive tracts from abattoir material
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops22:004:00video and guest speaker sessions on practices involved in improving fertility and genetic merit
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesFieldwork24:008:00Provide information about objectives and problems in real breeding programmes from animal breeders
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study117:0017:00Background reading and research on module topics
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study128:0028:00Writing up lecture, lab and field visits notes
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study11:001:00Formative assessment - online test.
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The early lectures and videos will introduce the vocabulary of animal reproductive physiology / breeding and describe the principles and practices involved in controlling reproduction and improving the genetic merit of animals (all knowledge outcomes). The practical will illustrate aspects of reproductive anatomy and physiology (knowledge outcomes 2 and 3 and skills outcome 1). Outside speaker/farm visits will allow students to obtain information about the objectives and problems in real breeding programmes from animal breeders and advisers (knowledge outcomes 9 and 10 and skills outcome 2).

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1201A80Answer 3 questions out of 6.
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Practical/lab report1M20The practical helps students understand the concepts & techniques of animal reproduction (up to 1000 words)
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Computer assessment1MN/A
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The practical report will assess the students skills in the examination of experimental material, presentation and critical discussion (skill outcomes 1). A formative computer assessment assesses knowledge of the vocabulary, methods, principles and strategies of animal breeding (outcomes 1,2,4, and 6). The final examination will potentially assess all the knowledge outcomes using essay questions (students will answer 3 of 6). Successful students will demonstrate their ability to describe, discuss, integrate and analyse the principles and practices of animal breeding in their answers.

Reading Lists