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NES2007 : Domestic Animal Reproduction and Genetic Improvement

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Andrew Beard
  • Lecturer: Professor Lucy Asher, Dr Miguel Velazquez
  • Owning School: Natural and Environmental Sciences
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0
European Credit Transfer System


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, in order to enhance the sustainability of domestic animal production through animal breeding.

Outline Of Syllabus

(A) Physiology of reproduction (approx. 6 hours of lectures / lecture material),
….. incl. for example production of gametes, oestrous cycle, mating, pregnancy and postpartum
(B) Artificial control of reproduction (purpose and practice – approx. 6 hours of lectures/ lecture material / quizzes / videos)
…..incl. for example 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.. 6hrs of lectures / lecture material / quizzes)
….. incl. for example 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. 4 hrs of lectures / lecture material and farm visits incl. probably sheep, beef and dairy breed improvement schemes and breeding / reproduction in companion animals) including discussion of methods to improve the production, health / welfare and environmental sustainability of domestic animals through animal breeding.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials91:009:00Introduce principles and practices involved in control of reproduction and improving genetic merit
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion112:0012:00Revision and preparation for Semester 1 assessment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion110:0010:00Preparation of Lab report
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture121:0012:00Introduce 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 (Cockle Park labs)
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesFieldwork13:003:00Provide information about objectives and problems in real breeding programmes from animal breeders
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery41:004:00Drop in / Q and A session with lecturer
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study114:0014:00Background reading and research on module topics
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study130:0030:00Writing up lecture, lab and field visits notes
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesModule talk31:003:00Introduction / guest speaker sessions on practices involved in improving fertility and genetic merit
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The early lectures and lecture material 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). Later lectures, guest speaker and/or 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 Examination901A70Answer 2 questions out of 4.
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Practical/lab report1M30The practical helps students understand the concepts & techniques of animal reproduction (up to 700 words)
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). The final examination will potentially assess all the knowledge outcomes using essay questions (students will answer 2 of 4). Successful students will demonstrate their ability to describe, discuss, integrate and analyse the principles and practices of animal breeding in their answers.

An alternative remote assessment will be a recorded oral presentation that will potentially assess all the knowledge outcomes. Successful students will demonstrate their ability in their slides and spoken words. A similar alternative assessment will be set for any Semester 1 Study Abroad student taking this module, who will not be in Newcastle during the January assessment period

Reading Lists