Estimation of breed contributions to present and future genetic diversity of 44 North Eurasian cattle breeds using core set diversity measures
© INRA, EDP Sciences 2006
Received: 13 June 2005
Accepted: 26 October 2005
Published: 24 February 2006
Extinction of breeds threatens genetic diversity of livestock species. The need to conserve genetic diversity is widely accepted but involves in general two questions: (i) is the expected loss of diversity in a set of breeds within a defined future time horizon large enough to establish a conservation plan, and if so (ii) which breeds should be prioritised for such a conservation plan? The present study uses a marker assisted methodology to address these questions. The methodology combines core set diversity measures with a stochastic method for the estimation of expected future diversity and breed marginal diversities. The latter is defined as the change in the total diversity of all breeds caused by a one unit decrease in extinction probability of a particular breed. The stochastic method was validated by means of simulations. A large field data set consisting of 44 North Eurasian cattle breeds was analysed using simplified determined extinction probabilities. The results show that the expected loss of diversity in this set within the next 20 to 50 years is between 1 and 3% of the actual diversity, provided that the extinction probabilities which were used are approximately valid. If this loss is to be reduced, it is sufficient to include those three to five breeds with the highest marginal diversity in a conservation scheme.
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