The computer software program "COWGAMES" will be used to
demonstrate genetic progress that can be achieved through selection for
economic production traits (weaning weight, average daily gain, and(or)
yearling weight) as simulated in a beef cattle herd. COWGAMES accounts for
simple and complex forms of gene action which will be studied in the
classroom. The basis for the term paper assignment challenges the student
with the opportunity to design breeding objectives, select bulls and cows,
monitor genetic change, and interpret the results of genetic progress based
on several generations of simulated selection which is performed throughout
the semester. The term paper is to be submitted electronically (Word file) to
Dr. Lukefahr no later
than on the date of the final examination (May 8), as well as a bound hard
copy. Ten bonus points will be
given to those students who turn in their term papers at least one week
(on or before May 1) before the scheduled final date.
Instructions for Term Paper:
ANSC 3335 GENETICS OF
COWGAMES TERM PAPER ASSIGNMENT (100 POINTS)
General: The purpose for the term paper is to provide the student the
opportunity to present an interpretive summary explaining the genetic results following a
minimum of 12 generations of simulated beef cattle selection for
economic traits using the
'Cowgames' computer program. The paper is to be at least 14 typed pages in
length (excluding title page and figures), page numbered, and double-line
spaced. The paper should not exceed a total of 20 pages in length. Times New Roman text and a font size of 12 should be used.
complete spelling and grammar checks. Also, as a technical paper, avoid contractions (e.g.,
I'm, don't, and won't).
Only major headings (INTRODUCTION, ENTERPRISE TYPE AND BREEDING OBJECTIVE,
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION, and SUMMARY) start on a separate page. In the
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION section, a write-up for each generation should be original (do not
copy/paste from previous generation sub-sections). Generation sub-sections
should not be on separate pages. Margins should be no larger than
1 inch. Figures illustrating genetic trend for all three traits should be
developed using a computer graphics package. The Grading
Rubric is based on Organization, Content, Language, Mechanics, and
1) Title Page - Paper title, Student, Course, Semester, Year. On the next
page, a Table of Contents would be a good show of organization.
2) Introduction - The Introduction is page 1 of the term paper. Discuss
why is 'Cowgames' is used by students? Refer to key genetic concepts
that can be applied using Cowgames. Discuss next the pros and cons of
the program (i.e., personal likes and dislikes). (Minimum of 1-1/2
3) Enterprise Type & Breeding Objective - (Minimum of 1-1/2 pages)
A) Initial herd objectives (enterprise type background, breeding objective, trait(s)
B) Rationale or Justification (genetic and economic support
of breeding objective). Also mention the relevance of heritability for the
trait(s) being subjected to genetic selection.
4) Results & Discussion - (Minimum of 10 pages). Only one line
space between Generation sub-sections.
A) Address the following:
i) Discuss your mating plans for that generation. What was
the reason or rationale for making your selection decisions?
ii) What was done differently this generation? Justify the change.
iii) What were the results? Did trait averages change?
iv) Explain the possible causes for the genetic results for each generation, illustrated by using
genetic terms (e.g., assortative matings, breeding value, culling, genetic
variation, heritability, homozygosity, inbreeding coefficient, prepotency, and selection) and by
making reference to genetic concepts, and showing some proof from the data.
Focus on how you can best
explain why genetic change occurred, regardless of whether the
change was a lot or very little. Tip - many students lose points because
they do not explain the genetic changes to demonstrate what they learned
or better understand from the genetic results for each generation. Again,
copy/paste duplication of results across generations is discouraged.
B) Summary - (Minimum of 1 full page). What was the general
outcome in terms of genetic progress? Refer to and discuss the genetic trends
for each trait from your three figures. Also, if you could start Cowgames all over again,
what would you have done differently based on your
increased knowledge of
5) Figures -
A) Plot on three separate pages the generation results for
(as line plots). Each
figure should have a complete caption. The Y-axes should be precise. See
example graph (link below).
6) Appendix - Attach all your generation print-out sheets and any
additional materials such as pedigrees, arrow diagrams, and MPPA