How to Design, Execute & Optimize Animal Breeding: WUR

For me, nowadays, massive open online courses (MOOC) are good source of formal education and professional skills from world class universities and technology companies. I have no revenue for 12+ years now since October 2007. No money to buy books. No money to pay for verified certificate. But I am relieved that I can audit for free many MOOCs from edX, Coursera, and many other MOOC sites.

(Before 2007, I acquired many books on cockfighting and genetics. I do own a 1700’s or 1800’s poultry genetics book – more than 2 inches thick I think.)

Enrolling with paid verified certificate is an option. Auditing track without paid verified certificate is another option for financially challenged like myself.

Audit track for free provides access to the course content – lessons, videos, quizzes. In some MOOCs, everything is included except the paid verified certificate. Do take note that recently more and more MOOCs do not include access to the actual quizzes but only provide access to the practice quizzes.

Learn the Math and Science of Animal Breeding

Let me invite you to check out blog articles with “united we breed” tag. Especially the blog article “How To Create Your Own Strain of Gamecocks?“.

For many of you who might have doubts about the knowledge (or bullshits) in the said blog article shared to the world last August 2011, you can take two online free courses created by Wageningen University and Research (WUR) on edX to:

  • verify (or debunk) the shared information in the said blog article
  • learn the math and science of animal breeding
  • learn to design, execute, and optimize animal breeding

Do take note that although the WUR program is focused on genetic diversity and genetic improvement, it also mentioned how to create a new pure strain (or new pure breed).

The said blog article listed two breeding programs.

  • First breeding program is directly a way to maintain genetic improvement and genetic diversity. Also, it is a way to create new pure strain (or new pure breed), but in the end, the second breeding program will be needed.
  • Second breeding program is directly a way, if not the only way, to create new pure strain (or new pure breed).

You may want to review (or to read for the first time) what the article “How To Create Your Own Strain of Gamecocks?” listed as the two breeding programs it recommends.

You may agree (or disagree) with me that the said blog article two breeding programs does not violate any of WUR courses scientific principles and knowledge lessons. I even assert that the WUR courses will remove your doubts about the said blog article content.

Professional Certificate in Animal Breeding and Genetics

The online program “Professional Certificate in Animal Breeding and Genetics” from WageningenX has two courses namely (1) “Genetics Models for Animal Breeding” and (2) “Evaluating Animal Breeding Programmes“.

If you are a busy person, both courses need an effort of about 4–6 hours per week, for 6 weeks. Total of 12 weeks.

For someone like me who has all the time to waste online, you can finish both courses in a week or two – auditing a track for free is just like browsing a book and taking quizzes with open book.


MOOC 1: Genetics Models for Animal Breeding

The first MOOC course provide knowledge to understand the genetic and statistic principles that enable responsible animal breeding and set-up and improve your own breeding program.

  • Module 1: Introduction to Animal Breeding
    Introduction to the seven steps that are needed to set up a breeding program.
  • Module 2: The Breeding Goal
    Learning the characteristics of a breeding goal and how to define a breeding goal for genetic improvement and for genetic diversity.
  • Module 3: Information Collection and Family Relationships
    Collection of information and family relationships -Learning the value of information on relationships, performance, and DNA information, including the concept and consequences of inbreeding. Learning methods to quantify relationships and inbreeding.
  • Module 4: Genetic Models
    Learning the concept of genetic models and to apply suitable genetic models for different traits. Learning the genetic concepts of heritability, repeatability, common environment ratio and mendelian sampling.
  • Module 5: Ranking the Animals
    Learning to estimate the breeding value of animals, using single or multiple sources of information, including DNA information. Learning to calculate the accuracy of estimated breeding values.
  • Module 6: Response to Selection
    Learning to calculate the response to selection and knowing its key elements and consequences of trade-offs between them. To understand mating schemes and long term contributions to inbreeding.

MOOC 2: Evaluating Animal Breeding Programmes

The second MOOC course provide knowledge to gain insight in how to evaluate an ongoing breeding program, both in terms of genetic progress and genetic diversity, and in how to get the genetic progress from the breeding program to the farmer.

  • Module 1: Introduction
  • Module 2: Crossbreeding and Dissemination
  • Module 3: Evaluation of Breeding Programmes
  • Module 4: Genetic Diversity I – Monogenic Recessive Diseases
  • Module 5: Genetic Diversity II – Population Level
  • Module 6: Breeding Programmes in Practice

More About The Program

Meet your instructors:

  • Hans Komen
    Professor of Animal Breeding and Genetics
    Wageningen University & Research
  • Han Mulder
    Assistant Professor of Animal Breeding and Genetics
    Wageningen University & Research
  • Piter Bijma
    Assistant Professor of Animal Breeding and Genetics
    Wageningen University & Research
  • John Bastiaansen
    Research associate Animal Breeding and Genomics
    Wageningen University & Research
  • Mario Calus
    Senior researcher at Wageningen Livestock Research
    Wageningen University & Research

For who:

Although this program is open to everyone, it is particular useful for breeders of

  • Cows
  • Poultry/Chicken
  • Horses
  • Pigs/Swine
  • Dogs
  • Sheep
  • Fish
  • Shrimp

Program Overview:

In this Professional Certificate Program, the focus is on the design, the set-up, execution and optimization of animal breeding programs, genetic improvement and conservation of genetic diversity.

Follow this program and learn what the key factors are for improving and increasing productivity and learn what it takes to create and maintain a healthy and strong population.

You will learn about the basic principles of population, quantitative and molecular genetics. Biological aspects are integrated in the courses by the many hands-on assignments as well. Professionals working with animals will be able to use the knowledge from these courses to understand the impact of breeding on animal populations and to use genetic principles to make their decisions. Furthermore, following this program will give you an advanced starting point for further studies, such as MSc. level courses in animal breeding.

What you will learn:

  • Describe the steps that need to be taken when setting up a breeding program.
  • Describe how selection and genomic tools can be used to alleviate the effect of monogenic recessive diseases.
  • Calculate family relationships and inbreeding coefficients in pedigrees and predict the rate of inbreeding for simple situations.
  • Explain how family relationships between individuals can be used to estimate breeding values and describe the consequences of different selection and mating strategies for the response to selection.
  • Describe how running breeding programs can be evaluated in terms of response to selection and genetic diversity.
  • Describe how dissemination of improved animal populations to end-users takes place, and why this differs among animal species.
  • Gain the tools and insights to improve production and work towards a healthy population.


Free online courses from Wageningen University & Research

Do you want to learn how to feed more than 9 billion people in the world while protecting the environment? Do you want to learn how to improve the quality of life on our planet? Do you want to learn about the impact of your everyday choices on the environment and on society?

Wageningen University & Research offers a wide range of FREE Massive Open and Online Courses (MOOCs), accessible to all. Whether you want to learn more about a topic out of sheer interest or you want to expand your knowledge for professional purposes; following a MOOC is perfect for you. You will learn from the top professors of Wageningen University & Research, providing you with a deep knowledge and in-demand skills which you can use for you own benefits and/or to boost your career.

Are you already studying at Wageningen University & Research? Embed an online course in the free choice part of your BSc/MSc programme and you might get credits for it.

Follow a MOOC and join Wageningen University and Research in her mission to explore the potential of nature and improve the quality of life.

Wageningen University & Research MOOCs

Browse free online courses in a variety of subjects. Wageningen University & Research courses can be audited free or students can choose to receive a verified certificate for a small fee.

Wageningen University and Research

Wageningen University & Research (also known as Wageningen UR; abbreviation: WUR) is a public university in Wageningen, Netherlands. It is located in a region of the Netherlands known as the Food Valley.

WUR consists of Wageningen University and the former agricultural research institute of the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture. Wageningen University trains specialists (BSc, MSc and PhD) in life and social sciences and focuses its research on scientific, social and commercial problems in the field of life sciences and natural resources. The university has about 12,000 students from over 100 countries. It is also a member of the Euroleague for Life Sciences (ELLS) university network.

The following research institutes are part of Wageningen Research:

  • Wageningen Environmental Research, formerly Alterra
  • Wageningen Economic Research, formerly LEI Wageningen UR
  • Wageningen Bioveterinary Research, formerly Central Veterinary Institute
  • Wageningen Centre for Development Innovation, formerly Centre for Development Innovation
  • Wageningen Food & Biobased Research, formerly Food & Biobased Research
  • Wageningen Livestock Research
  • Wageningen Marine Research, formerly IMARES
  • Wageningen Plant Research
  • Dairy Campus
  • Wageningen Food Safety Research, formerly RIKILT

On 9 March 2018 Wageningen University celebrated her 100 years anniversary.

WUR has been placed in the top 150 universities in the world by three major ranking tables.

University rankings – Global

  • ARWU World
    151-200 (2019)
  • Leiden World
    210 (2019)
  • THE World
    59 (2020)
  • USNWR World
    79 (2020)
  • QS World
    125 (2020)

In the field of life sciences, agricultural and environmental science, the university is considered world-class. According to the Times Higher Education World University Rankings it is the best university in the Netherlands and No. 1 worldwide, in agriculture and forestry for 2017 on the QS World University Rankings charts.

  • In the 2017/2018 National Taiwan Ranking Wageningen University is ranked first in the field of agriculture.
  • In the 2017/2018 National Taiwan Ranking Wageningen University is ranked first in the field of Environment & Ecology.
  • In the 2016 Shanghai Ranking Wageningen University was ranked in the bracket 101-150th best universities in the world overall and 36th best in the life and agriculture sciences.
  • In the 2017 Times Higher Education World University Rankings Wageningen University was ranked 25th overall in the world and 16th in life sciences.
  • In the Academic Ranking of World Universities 2017 Wageningen University & Research is ranked first in the field of Food Science & Technology.
  • In the 2016/2017 QS World University Rankings, Wageningen University was ranked 119th overall in the world, first in the field of agriculture and forestry, fourth in environmental science, 13th in development studies, and 83rd in life sciences and medicine.

poultry gamefowl chicken gamecock

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