Characterization provides data on present and potential uses of animal genetic resources. FAO manages DAD-IS but the degree of completeness is below 50%. Besides the impressive progress in animal genomics, characterization must consider also phenotypes, production systems and all services provided by livestock to humans. Three gaps are identified: (1) characterization of functional diversity (2) data sharing (3) access to genetic resources. Standardizing phenotypic descriptors and landscape genomic analysis are promising approaches to fill the knowledge gap on functional diversity. Genetic resources must be taken on board of whole-genome studies. A single database cannot include all relevant information worldwide, but a web portal could be set up to provide a catalogue of datasets, described with metadata, on the model of GBIF. Characterization is an iterative process that should aim at being more prospective than retrospective in order to support also dynamic cryobanking.
Proceedings of the World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production, Volume Genetic Improvement Programs: Selection for harsh environments and management of animal genetic resources, , 028, 2014
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