Format

Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Anim Sci. 1999 Jan;77(1):61-9.

The importance of genetic diversity in livestock populations of the future.

Author information

  • 1Department of Animal and Poultry Sciences, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg 24061-0306, USA.

Abstract

Farm animal genetic diversity is required to meet current production needs in various environments, to allow sustained genetic improvement, and to facilitate rapid adaptation to changing breeding objectives. Production efficiency in pastoral species is closely tied to the use of diverse genetic types, but greater genetic uniformity has evolved in intensively raised species. In poultry, breeding decisions are directed by a few multinational companies and involve intense selection, the use of distinct production lines, and very large populations. In dairy cattle, the Holstein breed dominates production. Intensive sire selection is leading to relatively rapid inbreeding rates and raises questions about long-term effects of genetic drift. Key questions in management of farm animal genetic diversity involve the distribution of potentially useful quantitative trait locus alleles among global livestock breeds. Experiments with tomato, maize, and mice suggest that favorable alleles can exist in otherwise lowly productive stocks; this cryptic variation may potentially contribute to future selection response. Genetic improvement under relatively intense unidirectional selection may involve both increases in the frequency of favorable additive alleles as well as the progressive breakdown of homeostatic regulatory mechanisms established under the stabilizing selection that is characteristic of natural populations. Recombination among closely linked regulatory loci and new, potentially favorable mutations are possible sources of long-term genetic variation. A greater understanding of the potential that these alternative mechanisms have for supporting long-term genetic improvement and of genetic relationships among global livestock populations are priorities for managing farm animal genetic diversity.

PMID:
10064028
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

0 comments
How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Science Societies
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk