BT03 / Genetics / Genomics / Indigenous Breeds

Genetics of adaptation in domestic farm animals: A review – Highlighting our Publications

Ranked 11th of the 25 most downloaded article of livestock science between January to December 2011 is the article ‘Genetics of adaptation in domestic farm animals: A review‘.

‘This review summarizes available information on genetics of adaptation in major livestock species focusing on small ruminants. Adaptation to humans and consequences of domestication on predator aversion, mechanisms of adaptation to available feed and water resources, severe climates and genetic evidence of disease tolerance or resistance have been presented. The latter focuses on gastrointestinal parasites and bacterial diseases. The resource allocation by the animal to production and fitness traits under both optimal and sub-optimal conditions has a genetic background. Such information would help in identifying the most appropriate and adapted genotypes capable of coping with the environmental challenges posed by the production systems or, wherever possible, in adapting the environments to the requirements of the animals’.

Conclusions

‘Livestock productivity remains relatively low in the tropics particularly in sub-Saharan African countries despite the crucial role of livestock in the economies of many countries in the region. Breed improvement programs serve as natural entry points for productivity increases. However, the tendency for genetic improvement programs to concentrate on one aspect, such as meat or milk, in isolation from broader livelihood system needs often results in the substitution of exotic cattle for indigenous breeds. This emanates from the view that most indigenous livestock breeds are ‘unproductive’ when traits like milk and beef are considered. This has resulted in many misguided livestock improvement programs importing exotic breeds which are assumed to be more productive based on their performances in their conducive environments of origin…….’

Read the whole article HERE

Citation: Mirkena, T.; Duguma, G.; Haile, A.; Tibbo, M.; Mwai, A.O.; Wurzinger, M.; Sölkner, J. 2010. Genetics of adaptation in domestic farm animals: a review. Livestock Science 132(1):1-12.

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