Animal Breeding and Reproduction Biotechnology

Organized by MAI Zaragoza
Mai Coordinators: Jointly organized by:  Polytechnic University of Valencia (UPV), Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB), CIHEAM-IAMZ, Valencian Institute for Agricultural Research (IVIA) and National Institute for Agro-food Research and Technology (INIA)

Aims

Genetic improvement is a complex discipline bringing together relatively disparate subjects. On one hand, population and quantitative genetics, that to date have been responsible for the main advances in the breeds and populations of the animals used in production. On the other hand molecular genetics, of more recent development, that is making an increasing contribution to breeding. Finally, reproduction biotechnology, that offers tools to enhance and facilitate the application of both quantitative and molecular breeding methods. It is necessary to train young professionals and scientists in these disciplines so that, both from the public and private sectors they will have the operative capacity to establish, develop and evaluate animal breeding programmes.

Objectives

  • To understand the basis and principles of modern animal breeding, and to know the advances offered by molecular genetics, quantitative genetics and reproduction biotechnology to achieve specific objectives and enhance the efficacy of breeding programmes
  • To be able to integrate the different components of an animal breeding programme and to assess the advantages and drawbacks in the use of different strategies and methods, contributing alternatives that may improve the efficiency of the programmes from a perspective of productivity and production quality.
  • To know how to design, develop and assess programmes of molecular genetics, breeding, reproduction biotechnology and conservation of genetic resources, for different livestock species in different situations and environments, responding to concrete demands from the administration, the livestock sector and consumers.
  • To assume the responsibility of planning and carrying out, under the supervision of a tutor, but in a manner that must be largely autonomous, a work of initiation to research in animal genetics and breeding, whose results may be potentially publishable.
  • To prove knowledge of the scientific and technical information underpinning the research conducted, command of the techniques and methodologies relevant to such research, and capacity to objectively evaluate the significance of its results and conclusions.
  • To know how to communicate the reasoning and conclusions of tutored works carried out in a group or autonomously, to develop skills in the preparation of informative and synthetic documents, and to acquire experience in the preparation and presentation of oral communications delivered and defended before an audience

PART 1
THE MASTER OF CIHEAM - ZARAGOZA PROGRAMME

TRAINING SEQUENCE

The programme is organized in 13 Units (60 ECTS)

Unit 1
03-28 Oct. ’16    MOLECULAR BASES OF ANIMAL GENETICS (5 ECTS)

Unit 2
02 Nov.-14 Dec. ’16    ANIMAL GENOMICS (5 ECTS)

Unit 3
17 Oct.-17 Nov. ’16    LABORATORY OF MOLECULAR GENETICS (5 ECTS)

Unit 4
21 Nov.-14 Dec. ’16    BIOINFORMATICS PRACTICALS (5 ECTS)

Unit 5
09-25 Jan. ’17    FUNDAMENTALS OF STATISTICAL GENETICS (4 ECTS)

Unit 6
26 Jan.-10 Feb. ’17    QUANTITATIVE GENETICS I (5.5 ECTS)

Unit 7
13-24 Feb. ’17    QUANTITATIVE GENETICS II (4 ECTS)

Unit 8
27 Feb.-07 Mar.’17    QUANTITATIVE GENETICS III (4 ECTS)

Unit 9
13-17 Mar. ’17    MANAGEMENT AND CONSERVATION OF GENETIC RESOURCES (3 ECTS)

Unit 10
20 Mar.- 12 Apr. and 18 Apr.-05 May ’17    BREEDING PROGRAMMES (7 ECTS)

Unit 11
08-19 May ’17    REPRODUCTION FUNDAMENTALS AND TECHNIQUES (5 ECTS)

Unit 12
22-26 May ’17    PRACTICALS IN REPRODUCTION TECHNIQUES (3.5 ECTS)

Unit 13
29 May-09 June ’17    REPRODUCTION BIOTECHNOLOGIES PER SPECIE (4 ECTS)

EXAMINATIONS

Participants take 2 written examination for each Unit except for Units 8 and 10 where they take 1.  Each unit is independently graded. Written exams consist of a set of questions that require a concise answer. Some of the questions are multiple choice. Lengthy questions are avoided.

Participants may retake failed exams once.

LANGUAGE OF INSTRUCTION

The working language is Spanish, therefore participants should prove knowledge of Spanish at the start of the course. From the beginning of July to the end of September IAMZ organizes an intensive course of Spanish for those who require it. In the selection of candidates, knowledge of English is nevertheless valued, as part of the documentation distributed may be written in this language.

PART 2
THE MASTER OF SCIENCE THESIS

Supervised research work: Thesis and defence (60 ECTS)
Duration: 11 months

This part is organized in 2 Units

INTRODUCTION TO RESEARCH (30 ECTS)

The aim of this unit is to provide the prior knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to carry out a research project in a particular topic in the speciality of animal genetics and breeding.

Learning outcomes:

  • To improve skills in the search for information, as well as in its selective and systematic treatment.
  • To develop criteria for defining the objectives of a particular research study.
  • To know how to plan the research work in order to best achieve the objectives set and to optimise time.
  • To develop skills in the use of techniques and methodologies relevant to the execution of a research project and to discern the advantages and disadvantages of each one for each particular project.
  • To know how to integrate knowledge and to learn how to analyse and contrast results.
  • To value the guidance received to plan and develop a research work, fostering dialogue, criticism and capacity to work as a member of a team.
  • To develop skills for self-directed learning and autonomous work.
  • To improve the capacity of response to unforeseen situations and the ability to reorient a research if need be.

MASTER THESIS (30 ECTS)

The aim of this unit is to apply previous education received throughout the Master programme to carry out original research in the topic chosen in the previous unit, that concludes with the elaboration of a written thesis.

Learning outcomes:

  • To be able to apply previously acquainted knowledge, methods and techniques in a discerning manner.
  • To develop skills in the analysis of problems and in the definition of objectives.
  • To know how to design the diverse experiments included in the research project correctly.
  • To be competent in data collection and analysis according to a pre-established research protocol.
  • To gain experience in the analysis of results and the elaboration of conclusions that may contribute to clarify and find possible solutions to problems.
  • To develop skills in the synthesis and presentation of contents and in the preparation of scientific texts.
  • To gain practice in the preparation and presentation of oral communications and in their public defence.
  • To acquire attitudes to favour exchange and collaboration with other researchers and professionals.

Research work is carried out in well-recognized institutions (universities, research centres or firms), generally throughout Spain or in the participant's country of origin, under the scientific supervision of a thesis director that must be a doctor of renowned prestige. Participants choose the topic according to their interest of training, which is approved by a Committee. If the participant so requires, the organizing institutions advise on the choice of the most appropriate thesis director and institution to carry out the desired project, and likewise propose topics related to their research activities or other topics of interest previously accorded with other institutions.

The assessment of acquired competences for both units is made by an examining board composed of representatives of the organizing institutions and external members selected in each case for their expertise and prestige in the field of the research work. For the first unit, this assessment is based on: (i) an oral examination by the examining board; (ii) the evaluation done by the thesis director on the performance of the candidate; and (iii) the evaluation based on the reports presented periodically by the participant, with the support of the thesis director, on the development and progress of the research work. For the second unit, assessment is based on quality of the thesis and on its public presentation and defence.

Research activities: most common topics for Master of Science theses

  • Estimation of genetic parameters
  • Breeding values of production and quality traits of specific breeds
  • Genetic characterization of breeds and populations
  • Analysis of molecular markers of interesting traits
  • Semen quality and conservation
  • In vitro embryo culture