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Part 3. Modes of inheritance: single gene or polygenic?

This is the third part of the 5-part course Genetics for Breeders and Vets.

In this third part, we will look at the following questions:

  • How do we know if a trait is hereditary?
  • How do we know whether a trait is monogenic or polygenic?
  • Epilepsy is often a threshold trait. What does this mean?
  • Major genes have been identified for instance for osteochondrosis (horses), intervertebral disc disease (dogs) and bladder stones (dogs) – but what is a major gene?
  • How does the genetic association between traits affect breeding?
  • What is indirect selection and how can it be used in animal breeding?

Content of the course

The course consists of lessons, quizzes, links and a glossary. In addition, each lesson has a discussion section where you can ask questions about the lesson topics and discuss with other students.

Your instructor Katariina Mäki, PhD (Animal Breeding), will be present during the course. She will help you if you have any problems and will also answer questions on the course platform.

Seven lessons

Each lesson contains a lecture video and the same content in text form.

All the points made in the lecture videos can be found in the text of each lesson. So you don’t have to search for a particular point in the video if you want to go back and check something.

Learning quizzes

Short learning quizzes after each lesson.


Links to additional resources if you want to learn more.


The breeding and genetics terms taught in the course are collected in a glossary, where you can always check what a term means.

Possibility to ask questions

A question and comment section after each lesson – you can ask all those questions that have been bothering you for years. Remember, there are no stupid questions!

Course certificate

You can save and share the certificate on social media or print it out.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does this course take?

This course lasts about one week, depending on how many lessons you want to complete per day.

You can study at your own pace.

When does this course start?

There is no fixed start date for the course. You can start the course as soon as you purchase it.

Are there any prerequisites for this course?

You should be familiar with the material covered in the previous parts of the course – Part 1. Genes and Their Regulation and Part 2. Transmission of Genes from Parents to Offspring – so that you can absorb the material covered in this part.

What tools do I need to participate?

You will need an internet connection and a computer or smart device.

How long will I have access to the course material?

The course content will be available to you permanently.

What if I am not satisfied with this course?

If you are not satisfied with the course, let us know within 14 days of purchase and we will refund your money.

Please note! When you purchase this course, you will still be on this same page. To start the course, open the first lesson ‘Welcome to the course’ by clicking ‘View Lesson’. If you are on a computer, you will find the Lesson menu on the right hand side of the page. If you are on a smartphone, the menu will appear at the bottom of the page.

Course Content

Part 3. Modes of inheritance: single gene or polygenic?