Animal genetics


  • Analysis of genetic architecture
  • Genome-wide association studies
  • Conservation of livestock genetic resources
  • Breeding value assessment for horses and sheep


Prof. Dr Christine Flury, Team Co-Leader, Lecturer in Animal Genetics

Prof. Dr Hannes Jörg, Team Co-Leader, Lecturer in Animal Geneticsc

Alexander Burren, Research Scientist

Mirjam FrischknechtResearch Scientist

Dr Heidi Signer-Hasler, Research Scientist

Flurina Zeindler, Assistant

Marion ZumbrunnenAssistant


Current Projects

Naturally polled

The project investigates the molecular causes of natural hornlessness in cattle. The mutation giving rise to polled cattle allows for homozygote polled animals to be determined with certainty and for genetically polled animals to be used efficiently in crossings.

Project management: Hannes Jörg

Project description

Swiss Low Input Genetics (SLIG)

This project investigates the benefits of genome-wide sequencing data for the assessment of genomic breeding values in Swiss dairy cattle breeds. It is undertaken by HAFL in cooperation with partners in the industry and Iowa State University. In addition, a tool by which to monitor rates of inbreeding increase is being developed in order to safeguard genetic diversity in the long term.

Project management: Christine Flury

Project description

Article in infoHAFL No. 3/2014 (German/French)


Estimated breeding values for Swiss sheep

In the past, sheep were selected for breeding on the basis of appearance and performance. Nowadays, this system has been replaced with estimated breeding values. These values are being compiled for Swiss sheep by HAFL in collaboration with the Schweizerischer Schafzuchtverband (Swiss Sheep Breeders’ Association). So far, the following breeds have been considered: White Alp Sheep, Brown Headed Meat Sheep, Black Brown Mountain Sheep, Valais Blacknose Sheep and Engadine Sheep. Since 2009, the breeding values for the ‘daily growth rate to 45th day’ characteristic have been estimated, differentiating between the genetic growth potential of the lamb and the genetic potential for milk performance of the mother. On the basis of these two characteristics, animals can be bred to achieve both high daily growth and high milk performance. In 2012, the sheep breeders’ association decided to extend the existing estimated breeding values to include the ‘age at first lambing’, ‘between-lambing period’, ‘litter size 1’ and ‘litter size 2’ fertility characteristics. 

Project manager: Hannes Jörg


Prof. Dr Christine Flury


Phone +41 (0)31 910 22 64


Prof. Dr Hannes Jörg


Phone +41 (0)31 910 22 66