Genetic aspects of conservation in farm livestock

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Concern about loss of genetic diversity in farm animals can be effectively met by storage of frozen semen or embryos. Genes may be stored in gene pools, but generally breeding stocks should be kept in pure form. The possible returns from retaining genetic diversity may be large, while the costs by comparison are trivially small on a national basis. Thus any stocks at risk should be conserved without further ado. Some principles in conservation are (1) to store small samples of many stocks; (2) to choose diverse stocks; (3) to store stocks with special traits; and (4) to store locally adapted races (especially for developing countries). However, continuous genetic improvement in current stocks may make it increasingly difficult for unimproved conserved stocks to compete, unless there are reversals in breeding goals, or drastic changes in husbandry conditions. © 1984.




Smith, C. (1984). Genetic aspects of conservation in farm livestock. Livestock Production Science, 11(1), 37–48.

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