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Part 5. Polygenic (quantitative) inheritance

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

In this final part, I will address the following questions

  • What is a polygenic trait? Why are these traits often called multifactorial?
  • The normal distribution and the Gaussian curve. What information can be obtained from the Gaussian curve and how does this relate to breeding?
  • What are categorical traits and why can they be more difficult to breed for than other traits?
  • Systematic, random and permanent environmental factors – how do they affect a polygenic trait?
  • How can the influence of environmental factors be taken into account when comparing potential breeding dogs?
  • How can we determine if there is heritable variation in a trait needed for breeding?
  • Heritability – a figure that indicates whether a method of measuring a trait will work in breeding. What else can and cannot be inferred from heritability?

In the classroom activities, you will have a look at the characteristics of your own breed or species.

Content of the course

Polygenic (quantitative) inheritance course consists of lessons, quizzes and a glossary. Each lesson has also a comment 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.

8 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 lessons.


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 or two weeks, 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 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.