Genetics and environment work together to determine animal performance. The challenges for animal breeders are to identify the genetically “best” animal for the traits of interest in their production system and to use that animal appropriately in a breeding program to produce better performing progeny. This course aims to provide students with an understanding of genetic principles underlying animal improvement including elementary population genetics, heritability and repeatability. The course then covers selection response; mating system development; and DNA marker technologies—all from a production systems perspective.
Foundations in Animal Genetics or Molecular and General Genetics or SOCR 330 (Principles of Genetics); 3 credits of STAT 200-279 or 300-379
Textbooks and Materials
- Understanding Animal Breeding, 3rd Ed.
Bourdon, Richard M.
Textbooks and materials can be purchased at the CSU Bookstore unless otherwise indicated.
Mark grew up working on the family’s fourth-generation wheat and cattle operation in northwest Oklahoma. Those early experiences stimulated his interest in livestock and agriculture and led him to undergraduate degrees from Tabor College, and master's and doctoral degrees in animal breeding and genetics from Colorado State University. After completing his education, he worked for two years in New Zealand for Landcorp Farming Ltd, the largest ranching company in that country. At Landcorp, he developed genetic improvement programs for beef cattle, deer, sheep, and goats. After his time in New Zealand, he spent 4 years at the University of Arizona and then joined the Department of Animal Sciences at Colorado State University in 2001.
As a professor at CSU he teaches courses at both the undergraduate and graduate levels in animal breeding and genetics. His primary research focus is on beef cow adaptability and genetic improvement in susceptibility to bovine respiratory disease and high mountain disease. He has special interest in using selection and genetic improvement to better profitability of beef production. Mark serves the beef industry through the CSU Center for Genetic Evaluation of Livestock—a center that calculates EPD for breed associations and producer groups both nationally and internationally. In addition he serves on the board of directors for the Beef Improvement Federation.