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From Domestication to Inbreeding: Population Genetics and Companion Animals

Self-Study Course
Part Three of the Genetics for the Behavior Consultant Series

Purchase Course

Presenter: Jessica Hekman, DVM, MS

How does evolution work and what do we know about how domesticated animals evolved, particularly those highly studied dogs? How do we learn about evolutionary changes that happened thousands of years ago, before recorded history? How do new traits, like new coat colors, spread through populations? And what does all this mean for how we breed domesticated animals today?

This course discusses:

  • Evolutionary theory, especially as applied to questions about domesticated animals
  • How traits like coat color or different behaviors spread through an animal population
  • How, when, where, and why animal domestication occurred
  • What recent research tells us (particularly about dog domestication)
  • How population genetics approaches help us understand the health of breeds of animals
  • "Genomic selection," a new technique that could help us breed healthier animals

Prerequisites: This class presumes no previous knowledge of genetics.

Class schedule: This is a self-study class that will begin on the sign-on date. Students will have access to the course for 60 days from the date of purchase.

CEUs 6 (CCPDT, IAABC, KPA)
Member Cost $60
Non-Member Cost $75

Online Course Cancellation Policy: Courses cannot be refunded once purchased.

About the Presenter

Jessica is a veterinarian currently pursuing a PhD in genetics. After eleven years working as a computer programmer, she decided to go back to school to research the causes of behavior problems in dogs. She received her veterinary degree from the Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine in Massachusetts, where she also received a Master's degree for her work on stress behaviors in hospitalized dogs. After graduation, she completed a year-long internship specializing in shelter medicine at the University of Florida Maddie's Shelter Medicine Program. She is now enrolled in a PhD program in genetics at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Her lab studies a group of foxes (often known as the "Siberian silver foxes") which have been bred over many generations to be friendly to humans. Her ultimate goal is to find genetic causes of fearfulness in dogs, to work with behaviorally challenged shelter dogs, and to help people better understand the science behind dog behavior.

She lives in Urbana, Illinois with her husband and two dogs. You can follow her on Twitter @dogzombieblog or read her blog at http://dogzombie.blogspot.com.

If you have questions, email us at courses@iaabc.org.

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