The prospect: a horse’s genes determine its potential; from Grand Prix jumper to reining champion, from the perfect child’s pony to the Kentucky Derby winner. In the study of equine genetics, we examine how each horse is a product of its genes. In this course we will examine how the genetics of a horse influence its potential to perform, render it susceptible to disease or unsoundness or curse it with a genetic disorder. This course will take you from simple Mendelian inheritance and medical genetics through the polygenic determination of coat colour and into the quantitative traits such as performance determined by the interaction of multiple genes and the environment. The course will also examine the significance of pedigrees, methods of parentage testing and how breeds are genetically distinct.
The goal of this course is to enable you to understand important concepts of equine genetics and how they relate to the selection and breeding of horses.
By the end of the course you should be able to:
- Explain the fundamentals of Mendelian genetics and how they apply to the expression of genetic disorders and determining coat colour.
- Explain the concept of heritability for quantitative traits such as conformation and performance, how it is applied in a breeding program and what it means in terms of the relative contributions of genetics and the environment.
- Describe DNA testing and parentage verification of horses.
- Investigate and discuss the development of breeds and how selection, reproductive isolation, and bottlenecks contribute to the genetic identity of a breed. • Compare and contrast the genetic connections and distinctions between the various species that are all considered to be members of the genus “Equus”.
In this course you will explore the following topics:
- The Basis of Genetics: Mitosis & Meiosis; Genes (Introduction)
- Mendelian Genetics
- Single Gene Disorders of the Horse Part 1
- Single Gene Disorders of The Horse Part 2
- Coat Colour Genetics
- Coat Colour Pattern Genetics
- The Equine Karyotype
- Genetics of Performance Traits
- Pedigrees and Breeding Schemes
- DNA Testing & Parentage Verification
- Population Genetics & The Genetic Identity of Breeds
Sample CareersThis course is designed for those looking to increase their understanding of the horse, advance their careers in the equine industry and expand their knowledge and skills in the area of equine science.
Additional RequirementsThis course is designed for adult learners. Completion of Grade 12 or equivalent, or at least 18 years of age. It is recommended students complete at least one other Equine Science course before registering the Equine Genetics course.
Quizzes (40%): There will be five online quizzes. Each quiz consists of a number of true or false statements and multiple-choice questions which cover the weekly unit material.
Final Quiz (20%): A final quiz will consists of a number of true or false statements and multiple-choice questions which cover the weekly unit material.
Participation(10%): Your grade is based on your participation in class discussions in response to class learning questions and your reflections on the information provided by other student postings. Guest Speakers are invited into the course to interact with students on specific topics; your participation is also graded on your contribution to questions posted to the guest speakers.
Major Assignment (30%): You will choose one of five topics presented, research and write a 750 – 1000 word essay.
Open Learning and Educational Support
You can expect to spend 6 - 10 hours per week to complete the course material, discussions and assignments.
You do not need to own a horse or have access to an equine facility to participate and be successful in this course.