The Genetics program offers graduate M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in avian, bovine, or porcine molecular genetics; applied dairy cattle genetics; and quantitative genetics. New and highly advanced laboratory and computing facilities are used for current research in genome analysis, gene expression studies, mapping of quantitative trait loci (QTL), embryonic skeletal muscle development, the use of primordial germ cells. Current research topics include genetic analysis of health and fertility of dairy cattle from field data, selection index weights for dairy cattle, impact of selection for body size in dairy cattle, monitoring levels of inbreeding in breeds of dairy cattle, crossbreeding in dairy cattle, bovine and porcine functional genomics, annotation of the bovine and porcine genomes, genetic mapping of biomedical and performance traits in pigs, genetic engineering of the pig genome, dairy QTL mapping and genome-wide association studies, and statistical analysis and computational tools for QTL analysis and genome-wide association studies using SNP markers.
Course work is offered in advanced dairy cattle breeding, linear model methods, selection index theory, statistical genetics and genomics, and molecular biology techniques. Students in the Genetics program generally are required to take courses from the campus-wide course offering, including courses in statistics, population and quantitative genetics, evolutionary genetics, cell biology, developmental biology, and molecular genetics.