Module II: Quantitative Genetics

Degree course: 
Corso di Second cycle degree in BIOMEDICAL SCIENCES
Academic year when starting the degree: 
Academic year in which the course will be held: 
Course type: 
Supplementary compulsory subjects
First Semester
Standard lectures hours: 
Detail of lecture’s hours: 
Lesson (32 hours)

It is recommended to begin the course provided with a strong background in Genetics and Molecular Biology and some basics of Statistics, as well as biochemical, physiological and cell biology basic notions.

At the end of the module, the student will undergo a written examination. S/he will be presented with two questions about the “quantitative genetics” part and three numerical exercises about the “Statistical methodologies” part. An open answer is required for the two questions, aimed at verifying the general knowledge in quantitative genetics and at using a correct scientific language. At least two exercises have to be solved in order to verify the knowledge of the logic and methodological tools required for a correct evaluation of experimental data. The allotted time for the exam is 3 hours and the exam will be considered passed equal or over the 18/30 mark. During the exam the use of personal computers and/or pocket calculators and the perusal of one’s own notes are allowed.
The final grade will be the weighted mean of the marks obtained for both modules of the Integrated Course.

Voto Finale

The module will deal with basic and advanced issues in Quantitative Genetics. Since its beginning, this branch of Genetics developed buttressed by statistical and biometrical aspects. It is thus necessary to provide the student with interlaced genetic and statistical knowledge. As for modern quantitative genetics, molecular aspects will be mainly discussed, with special stress on the modern techniques of Genome Wide Analysis and Association Mapping. At the end of the course, the Student will be able to plan experiments in the field of Quantitative Genetics and will acquire a modern understanding of the relationship gene(s)/environment(s) so as to correctly evaluate the advances in the evolutionary, biomedical and biotechnological areas.As for the statistical part, at the end of the course, the student will possess the necessary knowledge for a correct analysis and interpretation of experimental data in Biology and the ability to perform the most common statistical tests.

Quantitative Genetics - 1.5 cfu
Quantitative traits (QT): the first experiments, the polygenic hypothesis for quantitative inheritance. Estimating the number of loci controlling a QT. Genetic and environmental variance: the concepts of broad-sense and narrow-sense heritability, the breeder’s formula. Molecular markers and their use in identifying quantitative traits loci (QTL). Power and pitfalls of Genome Wide Analysis studies. SNPs and association mapping.
Statistical methodologies - 2.5 cfu
Random variables and statistical tests. The model of Analysis of Variance (ANOVA). One-Way ANOVA: the completely randomised and the randomised block designs. Two-Ways ANOVA: the factorial design. Linear regression models, parameters estimate in linear, multiple and curvilinear regression. The use of regression for QTL identification. The χ2 test and its use in association mapping.

At the beginning of the course, the teachers will provide the students with a list of useful texts. If needed, the teacher will also provide short notes, PPTs and articles from scientific literature on selected issues. Presence to classes is strongly recommended.

Traditional classes will be held. In a few occasions, exercises will be done under the teacher’s guidance.

The teacher will answer questions regarding the topics discussed in the course following an arrangement either by phone or e-mail. Students are kindly required not to ask bureaucratic/administrative question, if not really urgent.