Biological consequences of selection

Name of course:
Biological consequences of selection

ECTS credits:

Course parameters:
Language: English
Level of course: PhD course
Time of year: Summer 2017
No. of contact hours/hours in total incl. preparation, assignment(s) or the like: 40/90
Capacity limits: 15 PhD students

Objectives of the course:
The objective of this course is to provide a platform for understanding the biological changes occurring when applying (artificial) selection. The student should be able to reflect on the consequences from a scientific point of view and understand the physiological changes taking place.

Learning outcomes and competences:
At the end of the course, the student should be able to:

  • Reflect on the ethical aspects of animal breeding
  • Summarize the consequences of artificial selection
  • Predict direct, maternal and correlated effects of selection
  • Describe the concept of social effects and group selection
  • Apply the methods of genetic size scaling
  • Understand mechanisms related to feed efficiency
  • Describe the effect of selection on behavioral traits

Compulsory programme:
The participants will get several papers to read before the course week, and they will prepare a presentation of a selected topic.

Course contents:
The course will cover the following topics:

  • Ethical aspects of animal breeding
  • Growth and development – genetic scaling (Taylor)
  • Maternal effects, social effects and group selection
  • Genetic variation of behavioral traits
  • Genotyp x Environment interactions
  • Robustness, trade-offs and adaptive capacity
  • Modelling and the genetics of feed efficiency

Pre-requirements are a M.Sc. in Quantitative genetics, population genetics or a similar background.

Name of lecturers:
Elise Norberg, Senior Scientist, AU (course organiser)
Roel Veerkamp, NMBU
Odd Vangen, Professor, NMBU
Lotta Rydhmer, Professor, SLU
Nicolas Friggens, Directeur d'Unité, AgroParisTech

Type of course/teaching methods:
The course will include a mixture of lectures, group work and presentations.

To be announced

Course homepage:

Course assessment:
The PhD students will present a given topic for the fellow students during the course.

Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Aarhus University

Special comments on this course:
This course is a NOVA PhD course, and NOVA students have first priority. Lectures will be given jointly with the MSc intensive course with the same course title.

21.-25. August 2017

Hafjell Hotel, Øyer, Norway. Accommodation will be provided.

Deadline for registration is May 15. See the course webpage for instruction on how to register.

If you have any practical questions or questions related to the course content or scientific level, please contact Elise Norberg (

13817 / i43