Submitted to: Encyclopedia of Animal Science
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/1/2004
Publication Date: 11/10/2004
Citation: Blackburn, H.D. 2004. International animal germplasm exchange. Encyclopedia of Animal Science. 559-561.
Interpretive Summary: The international exchange of animal genetic resources has had a large and significant impact on global livestock production. In general, the exchange of germplasm has been positive in increasing the economic viability of national livestock industries. However, a negative aspect to this type of trade is that it tends to decrease genetic diversity of major production species and in some instances displaces some indigenous livestock breeds. But, this breed substitution is not simply a function of importation of different germplasm. Rather, the imported germplasm is better able to meet consumer demands and increase production efficiency. To counter the reduction in genetic diversity and breed substitution, nations' can establish national genetic conservation programs that will enable better management of genetic diversity and the conservation of breed variation.
Technical Abstract: The international exchange of animal genetic resources has had a large and significant impact on global livestock production. It has allowed producers of varying countries to sample genes and gene combinations and to explore there utilization in various production settings. With increasing awareness of contractions in animal genetic resources the structure of trade can impact countries' ability to manage such resources. The World Trade Organization has developed substantial international agreements governing the trade of animal genetic resources. These regulations exist at two levels dealing with phytosanitary regulations and business regulations. The Convention on Biological Diversity also includes components that address animal genetic resources. A key element of that agreement is the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from commercial and other utilization of genetic resources. The development of national gene banks provide countries with the ability to preserve genetic diversity and exchange genetic resources in global markets.