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Graduate Program – Breeding & Genetics

Programs For Your Graduate Career

Academic Programs

Breeding & Genetics

The Breeding and Genetics group at Colorado State University is involved in research, teaching, and outreach activities. The group is comprised of 5 to 15 graduate student and post-doctoral researchers. The focus of the Breeding and Genetics group is on beef cattle and horses, but research has been applied to other livestock species. The objective of the Breeding and Genetics group is to make genetic improvements accessible and applicable to the industry. A few ongoing projects include:

  • Development and implementation of genetic evaluation and improvement programs for economically relevant traits related to reproduction, maternal productivity, efficiency of feed utilization, feedlot health, environmental adaptability high altitude via pulmonary arterial pressure, and carcass merit.
  • Polygenic and candidate gene or marker approaches to improving accuracy of genetic evaluation.
  • Genetics of resistance to bovine respiratory and feedlot diseases, and development of methods for genetic evaluation of animal health traits.
  • Utilizing genomic technologies to characterize microbial communities of gastrointestinal health for horses.
  • Profiling tissue specific gene expression for identification of candidate genes for traits of interest.
  • Identification of single nucleotide polymorphisms for relevant traits for genetic improvement.
  • Development and deployment of distributed online learning courses in animal breeding.

Areas of concentration for the Breeding and Genetics group are quantitative and molecular. Course requirements for graduate students in the Breeding and Genetics program include but are not limited to:

  • Molecular Genetics Course Work:
    • ANEQ 545 Molecular Methods in Animal Genetics
  • Quantitative Course Work:
  • ANEQ 575 Computational Biology in Animal Breeding
  • ANEQ 631 Selection Index Theory
  • ANEQ 731 Advance Genetic Prediction

All graduate students are also required to take STAT 511 and STAT 512. Courses to complement graduate studies are available in statistics, agricultural economics, computing, genomics and biotechnology, and other related disciplines. The Breeding and Genetics group contributes expertise and course instruction in a series of online modules covering various topics relevant to livestock genetics. Graduate students are also required to complete an ancillary project, leading to submission for publication once during their M.S. studies and twice during their Ph.D. studies.

Graduate students are expected to assist with classes as teaching assistants each semester during their program. This provides an opportunity for students to gain valuable teaching experience.

A list of topics that are suitable for thesis/dissertation studies at M.S. and Ph.D. levels are maintained by the faculty. These topics encompass a wide range of issues that are timely and relevant to livestock genetics. Students who successfully complete a graduate degree in the livestock genetics program are highly employable, and the hundreds of former graduates from this program now have careers in all levels of academia, government, and industry.

Contact Information

Dr. Mark Enns
Phone: (970) 491-2722 | Email:

Dr. Milt Thomas
Phone: (970) 491-5348 | Email:

Dr. Scott Speidel
Phone: (970) 491-5419 | Email:

Dr. Stephen Coleman
Phone: (970) 491-2681| Email:

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