Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Animal, Dairy, and Veterinary Sciences


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Cattle are domestic animals which have a special role of providing food for human consumption such as beef and milk. In addition, cattle are often chosen as animal models in biomedical and reproductive research. Holstein-Friesian cattle are known as the world's highest producing dairy breed. The Holstein-Friesian breed is differentiated from other dairy breeds based on its distinct characteristics such as high milk production, high calving survival, physiology, body size, and health. However, in the recent past, an increase in inbreeding has resulted in negative effects such as increased calving mortality, reduced milk production, diminished health quality, and decreased fertility. Inbreeding is the production of offspring from breeding within a population which has the same or closely related genetic makeup. Inbreeding results in increased homozygosity and reduced heterozygosity within the population. Therefore, management of inbreeding is necessary to obtain high value production and increased health and longevity in dairy cattle. Currently, genetic selection programs and assisted reproductive technologies, such as artificial insemination (AI), are utilized to increase genetic variations and decrease the impact of inbreeding depression which improves production, health, reproduction, and longevity of individuals.