Conservation of animal genetic resources has often been discussed as an aid to the improvement of animal populations used in sophisticated agricultural systems. Cumulative mutation and molecular manipulation are however likely to ensure the continuous opportunity to change the biological characteristics of animals by genetic selection. Moreover, market forces are likely to maintain and create sufficient diversity for most future requirements.. Even if populations were conserved, it is unlikely that adequate resources would be provided for their evaluation. The logical case for conservation in circumstances where the production and marketing systems are favourable is therefore difficult to perceive. By contrast, the emotive case is clear. There is then the opportunity to harness the emotive case and establish populations selected for particular purposes and possible future requirements. As populations under selection their characteristics will be known arid the requirements for testing will be few.

R. B Land

Proceedings of the World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production, Volume XII. Biotechnology, selection experiments, parameter estimation, design of breeding systems, management of genetic resources., , 486–491, 1986
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