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Research Project: National Animal Germplasm Program

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Title: Status of genetic diversity of U. S. dairy goat breeds

Author
item Blackburn, Harvey
item Wilson, Carrie - Welsh
item KREHBIEL, BETH - Colorado State University

Submitted to: International Goat Association
Publication Type: Trade Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/21/2014
Publication Date: 1/1/2015
Citation: Blackburn, H.D., Wilson, C.S., Krehbiel, B. 2015. Status of genetic diversity of U. S. dairy goat breeds. International Goat Association.

Interpretive Summary: Genetic diversity underpins the livestock breeders’ ability to improve the production potential of their livestock. Therefore, it is important to periodically assess genetic diversity within a breed. Such an analysis was conducted on U.S. dairy goat breeds: Alpine, LaMancha, Nigerian Dwarf, Nubian, Oberhasli, Saanen, Sable, and Toggenburg. In March 2014, pedigree files were obtained from the American Dairy Goat Association (ADGA) for this analysis. Oberhasli had the highest inbreeding average inbreeding level of 31.3%, which can be considered high. The remaining breeds had substantially lower inbreeding levels that ranged from 1.7% to 11.5%. Our analysis suggests that 99% of current animals among breeds have an inbreeding coefficient greater than zero. The generation number the breeds reached this level was: generation 7 for Alpine, Nigerian Dwarf, and Saanen; generation 8 for Nubian and Toggenburg; generation 9 for Lamancha and Oberhasli; and generation 12 for Sable. With the exception of Oberhasli the other breeds had effective population sizes that were greater than the normal bench mark of 50, while the Nubian and Nigerian Dwarf had effective population sizes greater than 100 head.

Technical Abstract: Genetic diversity underpins the livestock breeders’ ability to improve the production potential of their livestock. Therefore, it is important to periodically assess genetic diversity within a breed. Such an analysis was conducted on U.S. dairy goat breeds and this article is an overview of that work. In March 2014, pedigree files were obtained from the American Dairy Goat Association (ADGA) in order to conduct a genetic diversity evaluation using pedigree information and assess how well the bucks in the National Animal Germplasm Program (NAGP) gene bank represent various goat breeds. Our analysis suggests that 99% of current animals among breeds have an inbreeding coefficient greater than zero. The generation number the breeds reached this level was: generation 7 for Alpine, Nigerian Dwarf, and Saanen; generation 8 for Nubian and Toggenburg; generation 9 for Lamancha and Oberhasli; and generation 12 for Sable.