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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Development of National Animal Genetic Resource Program

Author
item Blackburn, Harvey

Submitted to: Reproduction, Fertility and Development
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: November 10, 2003
Publication Date: January 3, 2004
Citation: Blackburn, H.D. 2004. Development of national animal genetic resource program. Reproduction, Fertility and Development. 16:27-32.

Interpretive Summary: The contraction of livestock genetic diversity has created a global awareness that such valuable resources need to be managed and conserved. As a result, a wide range of conservation efforts have been initiated by a large number of countries. National programs consist of in-situ, ex-situ and/or information exchange programs. National programs that have initiated and reported cryopreserved germplasm collections include: France, The Netherlands, Brazil and the United States. It is only recently that these collections have been initiated and they are still a work in progress. Three major issues facing the development of repositories and genetic conservation efforts are: (1) that all breeds are in need of genetic diversity management; (2) a better understanding of in situ breed population dynamics is needed; and (3) the concept that repository collections can be used by a broad range of clientele across time as well as during emergency situations.

Technical Abstract: Globally, animal genetic resources are contracting due to economic forces. As a result, during the 1990s there was a dramatic increase in national animal genetic resource activities. Many national programs were initiated and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations played a prominent role in coalescing national actions. Nationally, programs have been initiated that comprise of in situ, ex situ and information-exchange efforts. A critical element to national conservation efforts is the development of cryopreserved collections of germplasm. Several countries have initiated substantial multispecies collections of cryopreserved germplasm. The selection of animals within breeds of interest is an important consideration in building cryopreserved collections. Animal selection should be based on a lack of genetic relationship, with sufficient numbers of animals to ensure the capture of rare alleles. Major issues facing repository development and genetic conservation are: (1) that all breeds are in need of genetic diversity management; (2) a better understanding of in situ breed population dynamics is needed; and (3) the concept that repository collections can be used by a broad range of clientele across time as well as during emergency situations. Keywords: animal genetic diversity, cryopreserved germplasm, genetic repositories.

Last Modified: 4/18/2014
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