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Title: Conservation of animal genetic resources – A new tact

item PAIVA, SAMUEL - Embrapa
item MCMANUS, C - University Of Brazil
item Blackburn, Harvey

Submitted to: Livestock Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/24/2016
Publication Date: 9/26/2016
Citation: Paiva, S.R., Mcmanus, C.M., Blackburn, H.D. 2016. Conservation of animal genetic resources – A new tact. Livestock Science. 193(2016)32-38.

Interpretive Summary: A large number of countries have initiated livestock genetic conservation programs, including gene banks. While the majority of emphasis has been placed on in-vivo conservation, progress in conserving genetic resources appears to be marginal. We suggest that by placing greater emphasis on gene banking that greater progress in conserving animal genetic resources can be achieved while facilitating breeders ability to use breeds of their choosing and desired selection criteria in an effort to meet increasing food demands. In addition, we highlight that gene banks need to store substantial amounts of information on animal phenotypes, genotypes and production environments to stimulate use of the gene bank.

Technical Abstract: For the past 20 years countries have initiated programs to sustainably conserve farm animal genetic resources. At the same time the growing need for increased animal productivity has emerged. Viewing gene banks and in vivo conservation in the context of food security, climate change, and product demand suggest the need for a more efficient use of these mechanisms to support sustainable productivity. Some advances have been made in developing and implementing in-vivo conservation programs, but those efforts appear to be predicated upon various types of government subsidies, which are subject to policy changes, and their growth has been limited. Given the in-vivo situation, it is suggested conservation efforts shift toward gene banks as the primary conservation mechanism. Globally, national gene banking efforts have increased and they have the capacity and potential to become more dynamic, incorporate different biological materials and facilitate increased use of genetic diversity. The next steps for gene banks are to better utilize information systems to integrate and store data from genetic/genomic assessments, cryopreservation, phenotypes and environmental conditions. These types of benefits plus the reduced conservation costs gene banks can speed the rate of conserving breeds while freeing the livestock sector to increase productivity with the breeds of their choosing.