Submitted to: Symposium Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/7/2004
Publication Date: 5/1/2005
Citation: Jenkins, T.G. 2004. Genetic adaptation of livestock: The power of change. Proceedings 1st Holt/Cat Symposium on Excellence in Ranch Management. October 7-8, 2004, Kingsville, TX. pp. 34-41.
Technical Abstract: Observation of commercial cattle producers within defined production environments suggests phenotypic variation exists among cows in the ability to perform within that environment with minimal resource "supplementation". Commonly, those individuals that exhibit this ability are said to be adapted. This brings focus to the question what is the source of this variation. Is it a "learned" response or does genetic variation exist. If the latter, how did this variation come into being and can it be exploited by producers. If genetic variation does exist then adaptation can be considered a population attribute and the ability of an individual to contribute to the next generation gene pool can be referred to as fitness. We currently have the capacity to utilize the genetic diversity resulting from millennia of phenotypic selection, mutation and drift that have created populations of living organisms with genes capable of fitting most genographical environments. In beef cattle, traditional technologies and ongoing development of new technologies to identify and transport genes among cattle groups are available. This point supports the continued need for genetic diversity within beef cattle.