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CGRFA/WG-AnGR-7/12/Inf.6 E September 2012

Organizacin Organisation des Food and de las c Nations Unies Agriculture Naciones Unidas pour Organization para la l'alimentation of the Alimentacin y la et l'agriculture United Nations Agricultura COMMISSION ON GENETIC RESOURCES FOR FOOD AND AGRICULTURE Item 3.2 of the Provisional Agenda INTERGOVERNMENTAL TECHNICAL WORKING GROUP ON ANIMAL GENETIC RESOURCES FOR FOOD AND AGRICULTURE Seventh Session Rome, 24-26 October DRAFT GUIDELINES ON IN VIVO CONSERVATION OF ANIMAL GENETIC RESOURCES Table of Contents Pages FOREWORD........................................................................................................................................... ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS..................................................................................................................... USER GUIDANCE.................................................................................................................................. Introduction.................................................................................................................................... The goal and structure of the guidelines........................................................................................ References.................................................................................................................................... I. THE IMPORTANCE OF ANIMAL GENETIC RESOURCES AND OPTIONS FOR THEIR CONSERVATION.......................................................................................................... The importance of livestock......................................................................................................... The dynamics of the livestock sector........................................................................................... The national status and development of animal genetic resources.............................................. Reasons for loss of animal genetic diversity................................................................................ Objectives for conservation.......................................................................................................... Determine the position of each breed and develop a strategy for the future................................ This document is printed in limited numbers to minimize the environmental impact of FAO's processes and contribute to climate neutrality. Delegates and observers are kindly requested to bring their copies to meetings and to avoid asking for additional copies. Most FAO meeting documents are available on the Internet at ME CGRFA/WG-AnGR-7/12/Inf.6 Comparison of conservation options............................................................................................ References.................................................................................................................................... II. IDENTIFICATION OF BREEDS AT RISK............................................................................... Determining the risk status of national animal genetic resources................................................ References.................................................................................................................................... III. DETERMINING THE CONSERVATION VALUE OF A BREED........................................... Accounting for factors other than risk status in prioritizing breeds for conservation.................. Use of information from genetic markers to account formally for genetic diversity in conservation prioritization........................................................................................................... References.................................................................................................................................... IV. CHOOSING THE APPROPRIATE CONSERVATION MOTHOD FOR EACH BREED....... References.................................................................................................................................... V. ORGANIZING THE INSTITUTIONS FOR IN VIVO CONSERVATION................................ Involving livestock keepers in community-based in situ conservation........................................ Establishing a breeders association............................................................................................. Auditing the breeders association and its activities.................................................................... Centralized ex situ conservation on institutional farms............................................................... Dispersed ex situ conservation involving institutional herds and livestock keepers herds......... References.................................................................................................................................... VI. DESIGNING THE CONSERVATION PROGRAMME MAINTAINING GENERIC VARIABILITY............................................................................................................................ Maintaining genetic variability within small populations............................................................ References.................................................................................................................................. VII. OPTIONS FOR BREEDING PROGRAMMES COMBINING CONSERVATION AND SUSTAINABLE USE................................................................................................................ Importance of adaptation............................................................................................................ Breeding for economic performance.......................................................................................... Improvements through breeding................................................................................................ Optimizing selection response and genetic variability within small populations...................... Cross-breeding for enhanced production................................................................................... References.................................................................................................................................. VIII. OPPORTUNITIES TO INCREASE THE VALUE AND SUSTAINABILITY OF BREEDS IN IN SITU CONSERVATION PROGRAMMES.................................................... Opportunities for sustainable use of breeds targeted for conservation...................................... Preparing a Biocultural Community Protocol for documenting a breeds characteristics and the indigenous knowledge of its keepers............................................................................. Improving management through extension activities and role model breeders programmes................................................................................................................................ Opportunities for conserving breeds through niche market production..................................... Enhancing the value of existing niche products through ties to geographical origin or cultural significance................................................................................................................... CGRFA/WG-AnGR-7/12/Inf.6 Exploiting the roles of species and breeds in providing ecosystem services............................. Capitalizing on the potential societal and cultural functions of species and breeds in tourism and social events........................................................................................................... References.................................................................................................................................. Appendix 1. Glossary of selected terms............................................................................................. Box 1. The definition of the term breed............................................................................................... 2. Registration of livestock breeds in India...................................................................................... 3. Colour sidedness: an example of genetic diversity conserved for genetic research..................... 4. SWOT analysis of Eastern Finncattle in Finland......................................................................... 5. SWOT analysis of the Java chicken in the United States of America......................................... 6. Growth rate and the dynamics of population size........................................................................ Basic rules for computing effective population size (N e )............................................................ 7.

8. Estimation of population growth rate........................................................................................... 9. Analysis of population data: an example..................................................................................... 10. Unique alleles allow the Araucana chicken of Chile to produce natural Easter eggs............... 11. Botfly resistance in the Blanco Orejinegro cattle of Colombia................................................... 12. Values of animal genetic resources.............................................................................................. 13. Using choice models to value and rank breeds for conservation................................................. 14. Use of a simple index to prioritize three breeds for conservation................................................ 15. Genetic markers........................................................................................................................... 16. Use of genetic markers to study the diversity of chickens in Southern Africa............................ 17. Estimating within-breed molecular genetic diversity................................................................... 18. The use of genetic markers for estimating genetic distances among breeds................................ 19. The use of genetic markers for calculating kinships among breeds............................................. 20. A step-by-step example of an objective method prioritizing breeds............................................ 21. Conservation of Hallikar cattle in India....................................................................................... 22. Public private partnership for conservation of Criollo Argentino cattle...................................... 23. The Banni Breeders Association a case study from India....................................................... 24. A community-based breeding programme in Menz, Ethiopia..................................................... 25. Colonial Spanish Horse breeders associations in the United States of America........................ 26. A two-step approach to supporting breeders associations in Latin America.............................. 27. Conservation of Tharparkar cattle in India.................................................................................. 28. Incorporating non-pure-bred animals into a breed founder population....................................... 29. Incorporating non-registered animals in a herdbook.................................................................... 30. Protocol for addition of non-registered animals in the herdbook of Huacaya alpacas in Peru........ 31. The protocols of the Coastal South Native Sheep Alliance in the United States of America...... 32. Promotion of the Leicester Longwool sheep in the United States of America............................ CGRFA/WG-AnGR-7/12/Inf.6 33. Accounting for cultural differences among members of breeders associations.......................... 34. Introgression poorly accepted by some breeders of the Texas Longhorn in the United States of America......................................................................................................................... 35. Combined Flock Book a multibreed society in the United Kingdom....................................... 36. The role of Gaushalas in conservation in India............................................................................ 37. Inbreeding depression.................................................................................................................. 38. Genetic rescue.............................................................................................................................. 39. Generation interval..................................................................................................................... 40. Population management using genomic information................................................................. 41. Mating systems to control inbreeding in Colombia................................................................... 42. Cryoconservation to increase the genetic diversity of a population in vivo an example from France................................................................................................................................ 43. The importance of locally adapted breeds in the Plurinational State of Bolivia........................ 44. Optimum body weight for Spanish goats guarantees adaptation to the climate in Texas, United States of America........................................................................................................... 45. A simple recording system improves cattle fertility in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela................................................................................................................................... 46. Animal evaluation by card-grading an example from the United Kingdom........................... 47. Molecular selection not feasible for alpacas in Peru.................................................................. 48. Fleece quality as a sustainable breeding goal for sheep in Chiapas, Mexico............................. 49. Selection to eliminate genetic defects........................................................................................ 50. Weighted selection an example............................................................................................... 51. Optimum contributions strategy of selection............................................................................. 52. Effect of sexed semen in producing a final cross in dairy cattle................................................ 53. Two-tiered demand for Criollo Saavedreo cattle in the Plurinational State of Bolivia............ 54. Genes of extinct Swedish cattle breeds conserved in todays populations............................. 55. Potential difficulties and pitfalls in the development of composite breeds................................ 56. Strengths of the South African Nguni cattle breed and opportunities to increase its value....... 57. The Samburu Biocultural Community Protocol and conservation of the Red Massai sheep in Kenya..................................................................................................................................... 58. The contribution of role model breeders to the revival of the Heritage Turkey in the United State of America............................................................................................................. 59. The Breed Saviour Award in India............................................................................................ 60. Heritage Turkeys cut across ethnic and religious boundaries in the United States of America...................................................................................................................................... 61. Exploiting fleece helps to safeguard sheep breeds Chiapas, Mexico...................................... 62. Marketing handicrafts made from Linca sheep wool in Patagonia, Argentina.......................... 63. White Park cattle a case study in meat marketing in the United Kingdom............................. 64. Desert Dessert ice cream helps to conserve Raika camels in India............................................ 65. Marketing rose veal from Randall Lineback cattle in the United States of America................. 66. The role of qualification labels for regional products................................................................ CGRFA/WG-AnGR-7/12/Inf.6 67. Marketing products on the basis of their place of origin............................................................ 68. Doubling the price of Drenthe Heath lambs in the Netherlands................................................ 69. Chilota sheep offer various marketing opportunities in Chile................................................... 70. Marketing products from Serbian sheep based on links to traditional livelihoods.................... Heritaste and Arca-Deli - two options for adding value to agrobiodiversity......................... 71.

72 Macedonian autochthonous pigs help maintain biodiversity..................................................... 73. Use of Criollo cattle for weed control in Colombia................................................................... 74. The cultural value of Madura cattle in Indonesia....................................................................... 75. The Chilote horse and therapy programmes in Chile................................................................. 76. The cultural value of Valdostana cattle in Italy......................................................................... Table 1. Conservation techniques and objectives...................................................................................... 2. Reproductive capacity of livestock species recorded in DAD-IS................................................ 3. Risk categories according to numbers of breeding females, numbers of males and species reproductive capacity................................................................................................................... 4. Risk categories for species with high reproductive capacity, according to total population size and trend, numbers of male and proportion of pure-breeding.............................................. 5. Risk categories for species with low reproductive capacity, according to total population size and trend, numbers of males and proportion of pure-breeding............................................. 6. Genetic and demographic consequences associated with risk categories.................................... 7. Relative importance of different animal genetic resources management objectives for populations in different risk-status category................................................................................ 8. Rate of inbreeding (percentage) and effective population size (in parenthesis) predicted under different management regimes......................................................................................... 9. Different ways of selecting individual from eight families and the expected responses to selection and inbreeding (in percentage) that they imply.......................................................... 10. The minimum number of sires to be use per generation to achieve an effective population size of 50 or more, for different mating ratios and expected family sizes, and assuming h 2 =0.4........... Figure 1. Flow chart for national management of animal genetic resources............................................... 2. Interactions among the possible stakeholders in a community based breeding programme........ 3. An example of decentralized programme for ex situ conservation of a breed by employing institutional herds belongings to private breeders and farmers.................................................... CGRFA/WG-AnGR-7/12/Inf.6 Abbreviations and acronyms AI artificial insemination BCP Biocultural Community Protocol CBD Convention on Biological Diversity (http://www.cbd.int/) CV conservation value DAD-IS Domestic Animal Diversity Information System (http://dad.fao.org/) DNA deoxyribonucleic acid F proportional change in inbreeding per generation f coancestry INTA Institute for Agricultural Technology (Argentina) MOET multiple ovulation and embryo transfer Ne effective population size NGO non-governmental organization PDO Protected Designation of Origin PGI Protected Geographical Indication RBST Rare Breeds Survival Trust (https://www.rbst.org.uk/) SNP single nucleotide polymorphism SWOT strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats USP unique selling position CGRFA/WG-AnGR-7/12/Inf.6 DRAFT GUIDELINES ON IN VIVO CONSERVATION OF ANIMAL GENETIC RESOURCES FOREWORD These guidelines present the basic concepts involved in the establishment and implementation of in vivo conservation plans for animal genetic resources for food and agriculture. The guidelines are intended for use by policy makers in the management of animal genetic resources, managers of animal breeding organizations, persons responsible for training in animal genetic resource management and any other stakeholders with a leading role in designing and implementing in vivo conservation of animal genetic resources. Although individual breeders and livestock keepers are not the direct target audience, the guidelines include background information that is relevant for all stakeholders involved in planning programmes for conservation of animal genetic resources.

The genetic diversity of the worlds livestock species is in a state of continuous decline and the animal genetic resources that remain are often not used in the most efficient way. To address these problems, FAOs Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture negotiated the Global Plan of Action for Animal Genetic Resources (Global Plan of Action) 1, which was adopted at the International Technical Conference on Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture held in Interlaken, Switzerland, in September 2007 and subsequently endorsed by all FAO Member Nations at the Thirty fourth FAO Conference in November 2007.The implementation of the Global Plan of Action will contribute significantly to efforts to meet the Millennium Development Goals, particularly Goal 1:

Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger and Goal 7: Ensure environmental sustainability.

The Global Plan of Action consists of 23 strategic priorities grouped into 4 strategic priority areas:

1. Characterization, Inventory and Monitoring of Trends and Associated Risks;

2. Sustainable Use and Development;

3. Conservation;

and 4. Policies, Institutions and Capacity-building.

The main responsibility for implementation of the Global Plan of Action lies with national governments, but non-governmental and intergovernmental organizations are also expected to play a major role.

FAOs support to the implementation of the Global Plan of Action includes the preparation of a series of technical guidelines addressing specific areas of animal genetic resources management. To address Strategic Priority Area 3 of the Global Plan of Action, FAO commissioned a group of scientists to develop guidelines on in vivo conservation. This strategic priority area is also addressed by guidelines on Cryoconservation of animal genetic resources, which were endorsed by the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture in 2011.

http://www.fao.org/docrep/010/a1404e/a1404e00.htm CGRFA/WG-AnGR-7/12/Inf.6 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS A wide range of experts in the in vivo conservation of animal genetic resources were consulted in the preparation of these guidelines. The following persons made up the team of primary authors of the guidelines:

Jess Fernandez Martin (Spain);

Gustavo Gandini (Italy);

Balwinder Kumar Joshi (India);

Kor Oldenbroek (Netherlands);

and Phillip Sponenberg (United States of America).

The following persons generously contributed text boxes that describe certain concepts in more detail or present real-life examples of in vivo conservation activities:

Lawrence Alderson (United Kingdom);

Elli Broxham (Germany);

Coralie Danchin-Burge (France);

Sabyasachi Das (India);

Kennedy Dzama (South Africa);

Ignacio Garca Len (Chile);

Gustavo Gutierrez (Peru);

Sergej Ivanov (Serbia);

Arthur Mariante (Brazil);

German Martinez Correal (Colombia);

Carlos Mezzadra (Argentina);

Joaquin Mueller (Argentina);

Keith Ramsay (South Africa);

Jos Luis Riverso (Chile);

Devinder K. Sadana (India);

Alessandra Stella (Italy);

Jacob Wanyama (Kenya);

Kerstin Zander (Australia);

and Pascalle Renee Ziomi Smith (Chile).

The guidelines were reviewed, tested, validated and finalized at a series of regional training workshops and expert meetings held around the world. The first workshop involved the Asia region and was hosted in October 2010 by the National Bureau of Animal Genetic Resources of India. In December 2010, the guidelines were introduced and offered for review at a joint workshop between FAO, the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and the Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa (ASARECA). The workshop was held at the ILRI campus in Ethiopia. In June 2011, the guidelines were tested and reviewed at a training workshop targeting Eastern Europe. The workshop was hosted by the University of Wageningen and the Centre for Genetic Resources of the Netherlands and was also supported by the European Regional Focal Point for Animal Genetic Resources and the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation of the Netherlands. In November 2011, the guidelines were presented at a joint training workshop organized by FAO, ILRI and the Swedish Agricultural University. The workshop included a review by a panel of African experts. An expert panel from Latin America reviewed the guidelines at a meeting held in Santiago, Chile, in December 2011. Following the incorporation of recommendations from the various expert meetings and capacity-building workshops, the guidelines underwent a final review with a global audience. From January to March 2011, the Domestic Animal Diversity Network (DAD - Net) was used to conduct an electronic conference on the guidelines, during which each section was reviewed on a week-by-week basis.

More than 120 scientists, technicians and decision-makers attended one of the workshops or expert meetings. The electronic conference provided more than 1 600 subscribers to DAD-Net with access to the draft guidelines to. The following persons made contributions to the editing of the guidelines:

W. Akin. Hassan (Nigeria);

Harvey Blackburn (United States of America);

Salah Galal (Egypt);

Rafael Gonzlez Cano (Spain);

Carol Halberstadt (United States of America);

Christian Keambou Tiambo (Kenya);

Ilse Kehler-Rollefson (Germany);

Hans Lenstra (Netherlands);

Bill Lyons (United Kingdom);

Catherine Marguerat (Switzerland);

Tadele Mirkena (Ethiopia);

Siboniso Moyo (Mozambique);

Hassan Ally Mruttu (India);

K. Edouard N'Goran (Cte DIvoire);

Chanda Nimbkar (India);

Zabron Nziku (United Republic of Tanzania);

Richard Osei-Amponsah (Ghana);

Baisti Podisi (Botswana);

Abdul Raziq (Pakistan);

Violeta Razmait (Lithuania);

David Steane (Thailand);

Sonam Tamang (Bhutan);

and Le Thi Thuy (Viet Nam).

The guidelines were prepared under the supervision of Paul Boettcher, with the full support of the Chief of FAOs Animal Genetic Resources Branch, Irene Hoffmann, and of current and former officers of the Animal Genetic Resources Branch: Badi Besbes, Beate Scherf, Roswitha Baumung and Dafydd Pilling.

Administrative and secretarial support was provided by Kafia Fassi-Fihri and Maria Grazia Merelli.

FAO would like to express its thanks to all these individuals, and to those not mentioned here, who generously contributed their time, energy and expertise to the preparation and review of the guidelines.

CGRFA/WG-AnGR-7/12/Inf.6 USER GUIDANCE Introduction According to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD, 1992), individual countries hold the main responsibility for conserving their genetic diversity on a long-term basis. The Global Plan of Action (FAO, 2007a) also recognizes that countries have the main responsibility for its implementation.

Animal production is vital to humankind and conservation of animal genetic diversity is a way to secure food production from animals for our future. In vivo conservation of populations in situ is the preferred conservation method (FAO, 2007a). Oldenbroek (2007) writes:

All objectives of conservation can be reached the best [with in situ conservation] and it offers ample possibilities for utilization. Besides, the development of a breed can continue and adaptation to changing circumstances is facilitated. However, the risks of inbreeding (caused by mating of relatives and leading to inbreeding depression: a decrease in fitness) and random drift (loss of alleles with a low frequency caused by random processes) has to receive full attention in the breeding scheme of these populations, that are merely of small size. Integration of in situ and of ex situ methods can, because of their complementarity, provide a powerful conservation strategy. Ex situ conservation usually implies in vitro cryoconservation of gametes in a gene bank. Cryoconservation can be supported by ex situ in vivo conservation. This implies the conservation of a limited number of live animals in a small breeding herd or a zoo, where animals are kept outside their original production environment and adaptation to changing conditions is impaired.

The goal and structure of the guidelines The objective of these guidelines is to provide technical guidance and a decision aid for the various available conservation options, along with concepts for the design and establishment of animal breeding programmes that conserve genetic diversity effectively and stimulate sustainable use, usually through the generation of increased income for the keepers of the livestock involved. The material presented is intended to be relevant to all species of livestock used for food production and in providing other products and services for humankind. Where appropriate, species-specific guidance is given.

These guidelines are intended to provide the necessary technical background needed by organizations or individual actors who want to set up, implement and monitor in vivo conservation programmes in a rational manner. It defines the tasks and actions that should be undertaken. The emphasis is placed on in situ programmes, because such programmes are likely to be the most relevant for short-term conservation objectives. The order of sections generally follows the chronological order of establishing a conservation programme. The subsections have a fixed format consisting of a rationale, an objective, the required input and the expected output, followed by a set of tasks and actions needed to obtain the desired objective.

Most countries have nominated a National Coordinator for the Management of Animal Genetic Resources (National Coordinator) 2 and established a National Focal Point for Animal Genetic Resources (FAO, 2011a). Many have also established a multistakeholder National Advisory Committee for Animal Genetic Resources. Although many in vivo conservation programmes will be established and implemented by various organizations working directly with livestock keepers, rather than by the government, the process of building a conservation programme should be realized with the full participation and awareness of the National Coordinator. The National Advisory Committee should also be consulted regularly. If no National Advisory Committee has been established, it is advisable to set up an ad hoc committee of relevant stakeholders and experts in the field of animal genetic resource management and that can be consulted during the process. Many groups of stakeholders are involved in the conservation of animal genetic resources (FAO, 2007b;

Oldenbroek, 2007): national and regional governments, research and education institutes (including universities), non-governmental organizations (NGOs), breeders associations, farmers and pastoralists, part-time farmers and hobbyists, and breeding companies.

http://www.fao.org/dad-is CGRFA/WG-AnGR-7/12/Inf.6 Many countries have developed national strategies and action plans for animal genetic resources for the purpose of implementing the Global Plan of Action at National level or are planning to do so (FAO, 2009). Countries that have developed national strategies and action plans will probably have identified in broad terms their conservation needs and objectives and may have allocated responsibility for developing and implementing a conservation strategy. In such circumstances, the national strategy and action plan will provide the general framework within which the users of these guidelines operate.

In the case of countries that do not yet have not a national strategy and action plan, the development this broader strategy and action plan for all aspects of animal genetic resources management and the development of a more detailed conservation strategy should obviously be approached in a coordinated way. Likewise, if countries have the advice offered in the guidelines on Surveying and monitoring animal genetic resources (FAO, 2011c), they will have taken the need for data to plan conservation strategies [see FAO guidelines on Phenotypic (2012) and Molecular genetic characterization of animal genetic resources (2011b)] into account in developing their strategies for surveying and monitoring and the planners of conservation strategies will not be starting from scratch.

Section 1 presents a brief overview of the importance of livestock, the state of animal genetic resources, the reasons for their loss, and objectives and options for their conservation.

Section 2 presents methods for identifying breeds that are at risk and are therefore candidates for conservation, including assignment of breeds to categories based on their risk status.

Section 3 describes methodologies that can be used to decide which breeds to conserve, assuming that financial resources for conservation preclude the conservation of all breeds. It describes the factors that influence the conservation value of a breed and methods for prioritizing breeds.

Section 4 describes how to choose the appropriate conservation method.

Section 5 describes the organization of the institutions required to implement programmes for in vivo conservation.

Section 6 deals with the design of effective conservation and sustainable use programmes, with special emphasis on the maintenance of genetic diversity within breeding populations.

Section 7 presents an overview of how to implement breeding programmes that combine conservation and sustainable use, largely by improving the productivity of the conserved breeds.

Section 8 outlines opportunities to increase the value of local breeds and their products in in situ conservation programmes.

A glossary of selected terms is included as an annex.

The guidelines follow the flow chart of activities shown in Figure 1, originally presented in The State of the Worlds Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (FAO, 2007b): The (risk) status of a breed is identified by completing the tasks and actions described in Sections 1 and 2. The value of the breed is determined by completing the tasks and actions described in Section 3. Once it has been decided that a given a breed merits conservation, a decision must be taken as to the type of conservation programme to implement. Section 4 outlines and guides the choice between in vitro and in vivo approaches. Section 5 deals with the establishment of in vivo conservation programmes and Section with the management of genetic diversity within such programmes. Genetic improvement programmes are addressed in Section 7. The tasks and actions described in Section 8 will help stakeholders add value to a breed or its products and will increase the sustainability of in situ programmes for the breed.

The guidelines recognize that geographic and economic conditions vary considerably across countries, as does the level of technical capacity. They also recognize that a similar goal can often be achieved in multiple ways. Therefore, most of the sections of the guidelines outline several different options for achieving the respective goals, including simple but effective strategies that can be applied in nearly any country. Countries are encouraged to identify and apply the approaches that are best adapted to their particular circumstances. Some countries may need outside assistance and advice if they plan to apply the more complex approaches described.

CGRFA/WG-AnGR-7/12/Inf.6 Figure 1. Flow chart for national management of animal genetic resources Source: FAO (2007b).

References CBD. 1992. Convention on Biological Diversity. Montreal (available at http://www.cbd.int/convention).

FAO. 2007a. Global Plan of Action for Animal Genetic Resources and the Interlaken Declaration.

Rome (available at ftp://ftp.fao.org/docrep/fao/010/a1404e/a1404e00.pdf).

FAO. 2007b. The State of the Worlds Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, edited by B.

Rischkowsky & D. Pilling. Rome (available at http://www.fao.org/docrep/010/a1250e/a1250e00.htm).

FAO. 2009. Preparation of national strategies and action plans for animal genetic resources. FAO Animal Production and Health Guidelines. No. 2. Rome (available at http://www.fao.org/docrep/012/i0770e/i0770e00.htm).

FAO. 2011a. Developing the institutional framework for the management of animal genetic resources.

FAO Animal Production and Health Guidelines. No. 6. Rome (available at http://www.fao.org/docrep/014/ba0054e/ba0054e00.pdf).

FAO. 2011b. Molecular genetic characterization of animal genetic resources. Animal Production and Health Guidelines. No. 9. Rome (available at http://www.fao.org/docrep/014/i2413e/i2413e00.pdf).

FAO. 2011c. Surveying and monitoring of animal genetic resources. FAO Animal Production and Health Guidelines. No. 7. Rome (available at http://www.fao.org/docrep/014/ba0055e/ba0055e00.pdf).

FAO. 2012. Phenotypic characterization of animal genetic resources. Animal Production and Health Guidelines. No. 11. Rome (available at www.fao.org/docrep/015/i2686e/i2686e00.pdf).

Oldenbroek, K. 2007. Introduction. In K. Oldenbroek, ed. Utilization and conservation of farm animal genetic resources, pp. 1327. Wageningen, the Netherlands, Wageningen Academic Publishers.

CGRFA/WG-AnGR-7/12/Inf.6 I. THE IMPORTANCE OF ANIMAL GENETIC RESOURCES AND OPTIONS FOR THEIR CONSERVATION A limited number of species of mammals and birds are kept by humans and play an important role in agriculture and food production. These animals are the result of domestication processes that have been ongoing for almost 12 000 years. Over time, domesticated livestock species have evolved into more or less distinct subgroups or breeds (see Box 1 for definitions) through a variety of formal and informal processes.

Box The definition of the term breed A literature review by Woolliams and Toro (2007) concludes that the question What is a breed? is simple to state, but difficult to answer. The authors found the following definitions, from a variety of published sources, each relevant and pertinent to their particular stakeholders:

Animals that, through selection and breeding, have come to resemble one another and pass those traits uniformly to their offspring. A breed is a group of domestic cats (subspecies felis catus) that the governing body of (the Cat Fanciers Association) has agreed to recognize as such. A breed must have distinguishing features that set it apart from all other breeds. A race or of men or other animals (or of plants), perpetuating its special or distinctive characteristics by inheritance. Race, stock;

strain;

a line of descendants perpetuating particular hereditary qualities. Either a sub-specific group of domestic livestock with definable and identifiable external characteristics that enable it to be separated by visual appraisal from other similarly defined groups within the same species, or a group for which geographical and/or cultural separation from phenotypically separate groups has led to acceptance of its separate identity. A breed is a group of domestic animals, termed such by common consent of the breeders,... a term which arose among breeders of livestock, created one might say, for their own use, and no one is warranted in assigning to this word a scientific definition and in calling the breeders wrong when they deviate from the formulated definition. It is their word and the breeders common usage is what we must accept as the correct definition. A breed is a breed if enough people say it is. The fifth definition (FAO, 2007b) notes that the breed concept involves cultural influences that should be respected. This perspective is also reflected in the final two definitions.

As livestock populations spread from their centres of domestication (via human migration, trade and conquest) they did so as small samples of the original populations. As these groups of animals encountered new ecological conditions, genetic drift and natural selection led to the emergence of distinct local populations. These local populations developed into distinguishable subgroups within the species, differentiated primarily on the basis of adaptive traits, but also through some selection for characteristics desired by their keepers. Because such breeds developed under the strong influence of their natural environments (i.e. the land in which they were developed), they are sometimes called landraces or landrace breeds. The term ecotype is occasionally used to refer to populations within a breed that are genetically adapted to a specific habitat. However, the distinction between breeds and ecotypes within a breed is not very objective, and generally involves cultural rather than genetic factors.

As societies developed and diversified, new demands were placed on livestock, and knowledge and skills in husbandry and breeding were accumulated and led to the development of more specialized CGRFA/WG-AnGR-7/12/Inf.6 breeds and breeding lines. Performance and pedigree recording and human-controlled artificial selection of livestock in the past 250 years has led, particularly in more industrialized countries, to the development of individually uniform but collectively highly diverse, distinguishable populations, which are commonly called standardized breeds. The development of standardized breeds started in the middle of the eighteenth century with the activities of Robert Bakewell in England and was based on establishing an ideal (i.e. a breed standard), closing the population, recording pedigrees and using deliberate mating and selection to achieve the standardized ideal. In some cases, breeding companies have developed specialized lines with standardized breeds and selected them intensely for very specific production systems.

The interaction between landraces and standardized breeds has involved considerable give and take.

On one hand, landraces played a basic role in the development of the standardized breeds;

on the other, landraces were threatened by the expansion of the standardized breeds. In developing countries, landraces play an important role, especially in traditional production systems.

The composition of livestock populations has never been static;

over time breeds emerged, were crossed to develop new breeds and disappeared. However, diversity prevailed. The process ultimately gave rise to the more than 8 000 reported breeds that exist today (FAO, 2012). These breeds represent the worlds animal genetic resources. They have been shaped by nature and by human interventions to meet demands in the relatively short term. However, over the longer term, they will need to be drawn upon to address changes in production environments (e.g. due to climate change) and in market demands.

In these guidelines, the use of the term breed generally follows the FAO definition used in The State of the Worlds Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (FAO, 2007b). However, from a practical perspective, breed is used to describe the unit of conservation, the specific population of animals that is to be conserved. The concepts described in the guidelines can apply to various populations, ranging from a village herd of animals to well-defined registered standardized breeds or specialized breeding lines. In general in the guidelines, breeds are divided into two categories, standardized breeds and non-standardized breeds;

most of the latter could also be described as landraces.

The importance of livestock Rationale Within a country, the livestock sector has to balance a range of policy objectives. Among the most urgent are: supporting rural development and the alleviation of hunger and poverty;

meeting the increasing demand for livestock products and responding to changing consumer requirements;

ensuring food safety and minimizing the threat posed by animal diseases;

and maintaining biodiversity and environmental integrity. As in the past, meeting these challenges will involve the establishment for a limited number breeds of breeding programmes for very specialized production goals, mixing breeds, and breeding individual animals with the qualities needed to meet the requirements of particular production, social and market conditions. However, matching animal genetic resources to specific development goals, threatens continued existence of some breeds. The loss of such breeds would result in genetic erosion: a decrease in the genetic variability within the species that exists thanks to genetic differences among breeds.

The capacity of a livestock population to adapt to future changes in environmental and market conditions is directly related to its genetic diversity. Therefore, if diversity is threatened, it is important that adequate measures to promote conservation and sustainable are put in place and that these measures are based on appropriate knowledge and skills. Within a species, the proportion of the genetic variation accounted for by differences among breeds typically ranges from 25 to 66 percent, depending on the trait (Woolliams and Toro, 2007).

Many livestock species have the ability to transform forage and crop residues that are inedible to humans into nutritionally important food products. Products such as meat, milk, eggs, fibre and hides from the more than 40 domesticated livestock species account for 40 percent of the value of world agricultural output. Livestock products provide one-third of humanitys protein intake, as well as draught power and fertilizer for crop production, and thus are essential components in achieving sustainable food security. In some developing countries, particularly those where pastoral systems CGRFA/WG-AnGR-7/12/Inf.6 predominate, the contribution of livestock production is even more important. Livestock also serve as a very important cash reserve in many mixed farming and pastoral systems, thereby playing an important role in risk reduction. The genetic diversity of livestock is an essential resource in the dynamics of livestock production processes. Careful genetic management and use of breeds in these processes determine the effectiveness of the maintenance of the genetic diversity within the species.

The development of a national conservation programme for animal genetic resources starts with an overview of the countrys livestock production systems including the species and breeds involved in different livestock functions. A starting point might be the country report 3 produced during the preparation of The State of the Worlds Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (FAO, 2007b) as well as the information available in the Domestic Animal Diversity Information System (DAD-IS) 4.

Objective: To produce an overview of the relevant livestock species in the country or the region, the number of breeds within the species and of the functions of the different species and breeds.

Inputs:

1. The country report;

2. Any relevant information about national animal genetic resources that has been produced since the preparation of the country report;

in particular, a national strategy and action plan for animal genetic resources, if available;

3. Preparation of national strategies and action plans for animal genetic resources (FAO, 2009a), assuming no such strategies and plan have been developed;

4. Breeding strategies for sustainable management of animal genetic resources (FAO, 2010);

and 5. The knowledge of stakeholders involved in the management of animal genetic resources within the country (livestock keepers, pastoralists, farmers, veterinarians, breeding organizations, scientists, NGOs, regional governmental organizations for agriculture, etc).

Output:

An overview of the species and breeds that are important in livestock production in the country or the region.

Task 1. Identify the breeds of livestock found in the country or in the region Action 1. Establish a definition for the term breed that will allow for recognition of operational units of conservation As described above (Box 1), the term breed has many possible definitions. Although breed is often regarded as a concept associated with industrialized countries and related production systems, it is imperative that each country have its own breed definition and applies the definition to its livestock populations. This step is a practical necessity because breeds serve as units of conservation, i.e. the distinct populations to which the concepts and actions described in these guidelines are applied.

Ideally, the definition of the term will have a degree of harmony and homogeneity across countries.

Therefore, it is recommended that the following definition be used as a guide: Either a sub-specific group of domestic livestock with definable and identifiable external characteristics that enable it to be separated by visual appraisal from other similarly defined groups within the same species, or a group for which geographical and/or cultural separation from phenotypically separate groups has led to acceptance of its separate identity. (FAO, 2007b) In general, a breed is a population of animals whose members will be treated in the same way under the national programmes developed for management of animal genetic resources. With only rare exceptions (see Section 6), members of a conserved breed will only be mated with other animals of the same breed. Likewise, in most cases, the current members of a given breed will be the result of a multigenerational history of inter se mating. When introgression or any other crossbreeding is practised, the population of animals resulting should no longer be recognized as part of the original breed, and ideally a new breed should be established.

ftp://ftp.fao.org/docrep/fao/010/a1250e/annexes/CountryReports/CountryReports.pdf http://www.fao.org/dad-is CGRFA/WG-AnGR-7/12/Inf.6 Some countries have a formal protocol for the recognition of breeds, with certain standards that must be met before the breed can be registered as a distinct population. In India, the National Bureau of Animal Genetic Resources is responsible for breed registration and has a precise and strict procedure for this purpose. A description of the procedure and requirements for breed registration is provided in Box 2.

Box Registration of livestock breeds in India The breed registration system in India is regarded not only as a tool with which to facilitate breed management, but also as a form of protection for local animal genetic resources under a sui generis system. The system of breed recognition is based on the FAO definition.

Under the breed registration system, any citizen of India can request the recognition of a breed by submitting a formal application to the National Bureau of Animal Genetic Resources, although the application must be approved by a state government official. Candidate breeds must have been bred pure for ten generations and scientific evidence of their uniqueness and reproducibility (e.g.

scientific articles or research reports) must be provided. The application must be accompanied by a complete description of the breed using a standard set of species-specific descriptors, a detailed history of the breed and a list of characteristics that distinguish the breed from other populations.

The applicant must also submit photographs of representative individuals of different sexes and ages, and a list of the registered animals that conform the breed standards. In addition, the applicant must submit letters from at least three different breeders or owners, indicating:

why they believe it should become a recognized breed;

how long they have been breeding the breed;

the reasons for recognition of the breed as a separate identity;

activities undertaken to establish this breed (e.g. breeding strategies);

any suggestions as to how to further improve the breed in a long-term perspective;

and characteristics that make this breed clearly different and distinctive from all other breeds.

The application is then reviewed and approved or rejected by a breed registration committee of National Bureau of Animal Genetic Resources, which maintains a permanent registry and database.

More information can be found at http://www.nbagr.res.in/Accessionbreed.html.

Provided by Balwinder K. Joshi.

Although precise protocols for breed recognition are an important part of an animal genetic resources management programme, they need to be complemented with policies for managing less-descript populations. These populations contain significant genetic variation and contribute significantly to food security and livelihoods. They must not be ignored. Neglecting them is likely to result in diminished genetic diversity in the species. Many important concepts in the management of large livestock populations are addressed in Breeding strategies for sustainable management of animal genetic resources (FAO, 2010).

Action 2. Prepare a protocol through which animals can be assigned to and/or excluded from a given breed The history of inter se mating that is generally associated with the genetic development of a breed will usually have resulted in common observable heritable characteristics that allow an individual animal to be assigned to its breed even in the absence of breeding records. Assignment of animals to breeds will usually be important for conservation for a variety of practical reasons. For example, the identification of breeds at risk (see Section 2) is a function of population size and distribution. To count members of a breed, the animals must be clearly distinguished from those of other breeds.

Similarly, in order to ensure that animals of the same breed are mated together, it is necessary to know which breed each animal belongs to.

Breed standards and protocols will usually be established by a breeders association, if one exists.

More details are given in Section 4. If no association exists, then the National Advisory Committee or other government body may need to establish criteria for breed assignment. Even if there is a breed CGRFA/WG-AnGR-7/12/Inf.6 association, the government may require a process of approval for the criteria, especially if breed associations are receiving public support (see Section 5).

Action 3. Review input documents to establish a baseline list of breeds and if necessary, undertake surveys to confirm the information in past reports and/or identify new breeds In the early 2000s, most countries prepared a country report that included a list of their breeds. Many countries have subsequently updated their breed inventories in DAD-IS 5. However, as breed formation is a dynamic process and breeds are continually created and lost, countries will periodically need to undertake surveys (FAO, 2011) to ensure that their inventories are up to date. If a new national definition of breed has been established (Action 1), it should be used as a basis for updating the national breed inventory.

Task 2. Evaluate the species and breeds of livestock present in the country or region along with their primary functions Action 1. Study the input documents As described in the user guidance section, if the country has a national strategy and action plan (FAO, 2009a) this will probably provide the framework for the development of a conservation strategy. It is likely to indicate the governments vision for the conservation of animal genetic resources, how this relates to general livestock and agricultural development plans, which animal species are important to the development of the country or to specific regions, and what objectives are considered most important in the conservation national of animal genetic resources.

Action 2. Consult the National Advisory Committee for Animal Genetic Resources and other relevant stakeholders If a National Advisory Committee does not exist, then an ad hoc advisory committee on conservation of animal genetic resources should be created. The committee should be invited to provide advice on the review of species, breeds and functions and to provide a critical review of the outcomes. Other stakeholders, such as breed associations, NGOs and other organizations that deal with livestock breeds should also be consulted, as these organizations are likely to have even more detailed information on specific animal genetic resources than the National Advisory Committee.

Action 3. Summarize available information on locally available breeds and their functions Produce a table for each species listing breeds and their functions. Include a short explanation of each.

Submit the table to the National Advisory Committee for review. Functions of breeds comprise a wide range of services to humankind, which may include production of milk, meat, eggs, skins and fibre;

provision of agricultural inputs such as draught power and manure;

fulfilment of cultural roles such as participation in ceremonies and sporting events;

provision of financial services such as savings and insurance;

provision of social status for their owners;

and provision of naturemanagement services such as conservation grazing to promote wildlife habitats.

The dynamics of the livestock sector Rationale Livestock systems are ever changing (FAO, 2007b). Drivers of change in livestock production systems include:

population and/or economic growth and subsequent changes in demand for animal products;

developments in trade and marketing;

technological advances;

environmental (including climate) changes;

and policy decisions.

The outlook for a breed depends to a great extent on its present and future role in livestock systems.

The decline of certain livestock functions is often a substantial threat to species and breeds that specialize in providing these functions. Perhaps the most obvious example is that throughout much of the world, the existence of specialized draught breeds is threatened by the expansion of mechanization https://www.fao.org/dad-is CGRFA/WG-AnGR-7/12/Inf.6 in agriculture. Similarly, breeds developed for wool and fibre production may be threatened by the availability of synthetic fibres. Availability of alternative sources of fertilizer or financial services also shifts the objectives of livestock keepers and may affect their breed choices. The emergence of new livestock functions and modification of existing roles challenge the use of a species and call for breeds specialized in these functions. Such specialization can only be realized if the relevant genetic diversity is available within the species, i.e. has been conserved in the past. Obvious examples of new or modified livestock functions are the use of horses exclusively for recreation and sport rather than work and the use of grazing species for nature management programmes. When a breed has significant genetic variability, it can be adapted through selection to fulfil a new role. If not, it risks being replaced by another breed.

The dominant trend within the global livestock sector is that rising demand for meat, dairy products and eggs is leading to the intensification, specialization and industrialization of production systems, which in turn narrows the range of animal genetic resources that can be used. Such systems are rapidly spreading in developing countries. Unfortunately, while this trend contributes greatly to increasing the supply of food of animal origin, it is a threat to the diversity of animal genetic resources. Many breeds are set aside because historically they have been selected for a range of traits rather than for a specific production trait. Within the breeds that are used in industrial systems, diversity is also decreasing due to the selection of a small number of superior individuals and families. This loss of diversity means the loss of important options for adapting production systems to future developments. Newly emerging market trends and policy objectives are continually placing new demands on the livestock sector. The prospect of further challenges such as adapting to global climate change underlines the importance of retaining a diverse portfolio of livestock breeds with large diversity in adaptive traits.

To identify the dynamics of the livestock sector and to detect opportunities and threats to a given livestock breed it is necessary to evaluate the livestock industry in the respective country or region, including the species and breeds used.

Objective: To evaluate the livestock industry and document the roles of the different animal species and breeds, threats to their sustainability and opportunities for their conservation and use.

Input:

1. The country report submitted to FAO during the preparation of the State of the Worlds Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture;

and 2. An update of the statistics in the report.

Output:

A description of ongoing and predicted future changes in the use of species, the number of breeds and the population sizes of each breed.

Task: Describe the dynamics of the species and breeds and their functions Action 1. Describe the use of the different species and breeds in livestock systems The basis for this may be available in the country report. However, the material will need to be updated.

Action 2. Describe the drivers of change of the livestock systems in your country and the dynamics of the livestock systems now and those to be expected.

The main drivers mentioned in the literature (Oldenbroek, 2007) are:

growth of the human population;

increased demand for animal products;

increased regard for food quality and safety for safeguarding human health and animal welfare;

increased interest of consumers in niche products and in sustainable use of resources;

technological advances;

environmental (including climate) changes;

and policy decisions.

In developed countries there is an increasing demand for the nature management services provided by grazing livestock and for animals that are appealing to hobby farmers.

CGRFA/WG-AnGR-7/12/Inf.6 Action 3. Describe the trends Describe observed and expected trends in the use of species and breeds as production systems change and the consequences of these changes for the species and breeds.

The national status and development of animal genetic resources Rationale As mentioned previously, about 40 animal species have been domesticated for food and agriculture. On a global scale, however, only five species cattle, sheep, chickens, goats, and pigs show widespread distribution and have large numbers of breeds. Cattle, sheep and chickens are widely dispersed across the global, whereas goats and pigs are less uniformly distributed. Goats are found in greatest numbers in developing regions and pigs are relatively uncommon in countries that are predominantly Muslim.

The State of the Worlds Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (FAO, 2007b) reported on the distribution of the five major livestock species according to region and those results are summarized here:

Chicken breeds make up a large majority of the total number of avian breeds in the world. There are around 17 billion chickens, about half of which are in Asia and another quarter in the Americas. Europe and the Caucasus account for around 13 percent of the worlds flock, followed by Africa with 7 percent.

Cattle are important in all regions and have a global population of over 1.3 billion animals, or about one for every five people on the planet. Asia and Latin America have 32 percent and 28 percent of the global herd, respectively, with Brazil, India and China accounting for particularly large proportions.

Large cattle populations are also found in Africa (particularly Sudan and Ethiopia), and Europe and the Caucasus, with largest numbers in the Russian Federation and France. Cattle breeds contribute percent of the worlds total number of recorded mammalian livestock breeds.

The worlds sheep population is just over one billion. About half are found in Asia and the Near and Middle East. China, India and the Islamic Republic of Iran have the largest national populations.

Africa, Europe and the Caucasus, and the Southwest Pacific have around 15 percent each;

and percent are found in Latin America and the Caribbean. Sheep are the species with the highest number of recorded breeds (contributing 25 percent of the global total for mammals).

There are about a billion pigs in the world one for every seven people. About two-thirds of the global population is found in Asia. China has the greatest number, but Viet Nam, India and the Philippines also have large national herds. Europe and the Caucasus have a fifth of the worlds pigs, and the Americas another 15 percent. Pig breeds account for 12 percent of the total number of recorded mammalian breeds in the world.

There are about 800 million goats worldwide. About 70 percent of the worlds goats are in Asia and the Near and Middle East, with the largest numbers in China, India and Pakistan. Africa accounts for just fewer than 15 percent, with about 5 percent being found in each of the Latin American and the Caribbean and Europe and the Caucasus regions. Twelve percent of the worlds recorded mammalian breeds are goat breeds.

Less numerous species like horses, donkeys and ducks are also found in all regions, but they show a less uniform distribution than cattle, sheep and chickens. Certain species, such as buffaloes and various camelids, are very important in specific regions, but do not have a wide global distribution.

Around 20 percent of reported breeds are classified as at risk, but this statistic presents only a partial picture of genetic erosion. Breed inventories, and particularly surveys of population size and structure at breed level, are inadequate in many parts of the world. Population data are unavailable for about percent of all breeds. Nevertheless, it can be concluded that the between-breed diversity within these livestock species is under threat. Moreover, among many of the most widely international transboundary breeds of cattle, within-breed genetic diversity is also being undermined by the use of few highly popular sires for breeding purposes. These two tendencies are leading to rapid and irreversible erosion of genetic diversity in livestock species.

CGRFA/WG-AnGR-7/12/Inf.6 Objective: To describe the dynamics of the livestock species in your country or region.

Input:

1. List of breeds found within the country;

2. Historical and present data on the number of animals per breed (e.g. from the country report, DAD-IS, for European countries, the European Farm Animal Biodiversity Information System EFABIS, or the outputs of recent surveying and monitoring activities);

and 3. National statistics and strategic and policy documents useful for predicting future breed population sizes.

Outputs:

An estimate of the number of animals per breed now and prediction of population sizes in the future.

Task: Produce estimates of past, present and future numbers of animals per breed Action 1. Obtain past and present numbers and analyse trends A starting point might be the country report containing figures from around the year 2000. Many countries (Ministries of Agriculture or of Economic Affairs) produce annual statistics, although often not on a breed-by-breed basis. Annual reports of breeding organizations may also be available.

Ministries, universities and research institutes regularly produce outlooks to the future that can be used to predict trends in the number of animals per species and possibly per breed. Ideally, part of national strategies and action plans will be to establish a programme for routine monitoring of breed population sizes, assuming such a programme does not exist.

Action 2. Predict the number of animals per breed in ten years from now Based on the number of animals per breed ten years ago, the present number and the observed trends, the number of animals per breed ten years from now can be predicted (see Section 2).

When predicting future population sizes, it is good practice to consider different scenarios and produce two alternative figures: an optimistic estimate and a pessimistic estimate, which together present a realistic range.

Action 3. Consider general trends if breed population data are not available In many countries, reliable multi-year information on breed population sizes is not available. In such cases, countries should consider the factors that affect diversity of animal genetic resources. Is importation of foreign livestock germplasm common and/or encouraged by the government? Is urbanization increasing as former livestock keepers or their adult-age children move to the city? Does the government provide support for development and conservation of animal genetic resources? Are farmers and breeders formally organized? Are there many international NGOs supporting production of local breeds of livestock? The answers to these questions may reveal whether livestock breeds are likely to be at risk, i.e. if the answers to the first two questions is Yes and the latter three No, then there is high chance that breeds may be at risk. If such trends suggest that animal genetic resources may be at risk, then implementation of a breed census should be given high priority.

Reasons for loss of animal genetic diversity There are several factors that place breeds at risk of loss and threaten domestic animal diversity (FAO, 2009b). In developed countries, the greatest cause of genetic erosion is, by far, the growing trend to a global reliance on a very limited number of international transboundary breeds suited to the needs of high input high output industrial agriculture. The effect of this trend is that many breeds have fallen out of use and disappeared without notice. In developing countries, however, genetic diversity is potentially threatened by a variety of influences. In the literature, there is broad agreement regarding the general trends and factors threatening animal genetic resources in developing countries. For example, Rege and Gibson (2003) suggest that the use of exotic germplasm, changes in production systems, changes in producer preference because of socio-economic factors, and a range of disasters (drought, famine, disease epidemics, civil strife and war) are the major causes of genetic erosion.

Tisdell (2003) mentions the following major causes: development interventions, specialization CGRFA/WG-AnGR-7/12/Inf.6 (emphasis on a single productive trait), genetic introgression of exotic breeds, the development of technology and biotechnology, political instability and natural disasters. For at-risk cattle breeds in Africa, Rege (1999) lists the following major threats: replacement by other breeds, cross-breeding with exotic breeds or with other local breeds, conflict, loss of habitat, disease, neglect and lack of sustained breeding programmes. Iiguez (2005) identifies displacement by other breeds, and indiscriminate cross-breeding as threats to small ruminant breeds in West Asia and North Africa.

The increased demand for livestock products in many parts of the developing world drives efforts to increase the output of meat, eggs and milk for the market (Delgado et al., 1999). Cross-breeding and subsequently the replacement of local breeds by a narrow range of high-yielding international transboundary breeds is a very widespread consequence of efforts to increase output. The rapid expansion of industrialized pig and poultry production systems in regions with a great diversity of local pig and chicken breeds gives rise in a great need for action to conserve the local breeds of these species. Trends in consumer demand can threaten breeds that do not supply products with the desired characteristics. For example, consumer preference for leaner meat has led to the decline of pig breeds that have carcasses with a higher fat content (Tisdell, 2003, EMBRAPA, 2006). Other threats to local breeds include climate change, lack of the necessary infrastructure and services for breed improvement, and loss of the labour force and traditional knowledge associated with livestock keeping because of the migration of livestock keepers to urban areas in search of employment (Daniel, 2000;

Farooquee et al., 2004).

These examples illustrate that there are a number of ways in which threats to animal genetic resources can potentially be classified. In The State of the Worlds Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (FAO, 2007b), threats were grouped within the following three broad categories based on the different kinds of challenge they pose to the sustainable management of animal genetic resources:

trends in the livestock sector;

disasters and emergencies;

and animal disease epidemics and control measures.

Before developing conservation programmes it is important to understand as fully as possible the threats facing animal genetic resources in your country or region.

Objective: To identify and describe the factors that threaten animal genetic diversity in your country or region.

Input:

1. A description of the drivers of change in livestock systems;

and 2. Documents describing the likelihood of disasters and disease epidemics and the existence of emergency programmes combating the effects of disasters and diseases.

Output:

A description of risk factors for genetic diversity in your country;

and A general course of action to decrease the impact of the various threats.

Task: Estimate the risks associated with factors that threaten genetic diversity Action 1. Analyse the drivers of change in livestock systems in your country or region Assess the consequences of livestock production systems changes for the breeds presently used these systems. For example, when intensification of animal production is widely adopted as the primary strategy for meeting increased demand for food of livestock origin, breeds not fitting these systems because of their low production potential will be set aside.

CGRFA/WG-AnGR-7/12/Inf.6 Action 2. Analyse the chances of disasters and disease outbreaks Disasters in this context are events such as wars and floods that may destroy whole populations of animals in a short period of time. An attempt should be made to identify the extent of the threat that such events pose to animal genetic resources within the country or region. Political instability, for example, increases risks associated with military conflict and civil disorder. Data on previous climatic or geophysical disasters can provide an indication of which areas are particularly threatened. In many countries, veterinary departments produce annual reports that provide overviews of the disease situation within the country and the threats posed by transboundary diseases. As well as the threats posed by diseases themselves, it may also be relevant to examine the institutional policies that are in place for dealing with disease outbreaks. In many countries, disease eradication procedures may be a real threat to breeds, especially breeds with small populations concentrated in a specific geographical region and on a small number of farms. For this reason, and because of the threat posed by other geographically concentrated disasters, it is important to determine the geographical distribution of breeds within the country or region.

Action 3. Describe the risk factors for local breeds and consider corresponding preventive measures Based on the outcome of Actions 1 and 2, the risk factors for breeds in the country of region can be summarized. This summary should cover:

1. the risk of a breed being set aside because of to economic drivers, resulting in a continual decrease in the breeds numbers;

and 2. the risk of a rapid and severe decline in a breeds population size or its extinction because of a disaster or a disease outbreak.

To address the first type of risk, long-term rural development, breed improvement and/or marketing programmes may be needed (see Sections 7 and 8). To address the second type of risk, policies with regard to disease control may need modification. Measures to expand the area of distribution of geographically concentrated breeds may also be considered. Cryoconservation will be a useful complementary activity in both cases (see below).

Objectives for conservation Rationale The early 1980s saw an increased awareness of the important role of animal genetic diversity in the various production systems of the world and of the fact that this diversity was contracting. As a result, a number of countries established national conservation efforts. Depending on the country, these activities involved either in situ or ex situ conservation or a combination of the two. In all cases, it became apparent that any conservation activity would require substantial involvement with livestock owners and a diverse group of public and private sector organizations. While at first, most emphasis was placed upon in situ conservation, in recent years, increasing attention (albeit relatively less) has been given to the establishment of ex situ programmes, gene banks in particular.

In many developed countries, people interested in the maintenance of local breeds founded national breed conservation associations. These organizations, which were often non-governmental, recognized the cultural and historical value of national breeds. They initiated in situ conservation activities for local breeds with an ecological or historicalcultural value and called for action by governments, breeders organizations and breeders. Many of these national organizations collaborate at the global level in the NGO Rare Breeds International 6.

There are a number of reasons why animal genetic resources should be conserved. In developed countries, traditions and cultural values are accepted objectives for conservation, which ensure the development of conservation measures for breeds at risk and promote the emergence of niche markets for livestock products. In developing countries, however, the immediate concerns are more for food security and economic development.

http://www.rarebreedsinternational.org/ CGRFA/WG-AnGR-7/12/Inf.6 Objectives for conservation of animal genetic resources fall into five categories:

Economic: Domestic animal diversity should be maintained for its potential economic contributions.

Increased genetic diversity will allow for greater response to selection and faster adaptation to changes in climate, production systems, market demands and regulations, or the availability of external inputs.

Diversity in livestock also contributes to diversity of diets and hence improved nutrition.

Social and cultural: Domestic animal diversity has an important social and cultural role. Livestock breeds reflect the historical identity of the communities that developed them, and have been integral parts of the livelihoods and traditions of many societies. Loss of typical breeds, therefore, means a loss of cultural identity for the communities concerned, and the loss of part of the heritage of humanity.

Environmental: Domestic animal diversity is an integral part of the environment, in terms of both the natural environment and man-made production systems. The loss of this diversity would contribute to greater risk in the production system, and reduced ability to respond to changes and degradation of the environment. Livestock can provide basic environmental services such as weed control and seed dispersion. As the human population and demand for livestock products grows, marginal areas and low-to-medium input production systems will likely increase in importance for food production in developing countries. In developed countries arable areas are sometimes given back to nature and well-adapted grazing animals play an important role in the development and maintenance of such areas. In both developed and developing countries, maintenance and development of adapted breeds are of critical importance in ensuring that these objectives can be achieved sustainably without adverse environmental impact.

Risk reduction: Domestic animal diversity is an important form of insurance that enables responses to as yet unknown future requirements. It is risky to rely on only a few breeds: concentration on a small number of breeds results in losses of genes and gene combinations that are not relevant at present, but which could become relevant in the future. Breeds may differ in their level of resistance and resilience to emerging disease challenges. Conserving domestic animal diversity reduces risks and enhances food security.

Research and training: Domestic animal diversity should be conserved for use in research and training. This may include basic biological research in immunology, nutrition, reproduction, genetics and adaptation to climatic and other environmental changes. For example, genetically distant breeds can contribute to research into disease resistance and susceptibility, helping to achieve a better understanding of the underlying mechanisms and thus to develop better treatments or management of the disease. Having a wide range of breeds available can aid in the precise localization of mutations responsible for particular characteristics (see Box 3) and livestock can serve as animal models for the study of genetic diseases in humans.

Box Colour sidedness: an example of genetic diversity conserved for genetic research Colour sidedness is a dominantly inherited phenotype of cattle characterized by pigmented areas on the flanks, snout and ear tips. It is also referred to as lineback or witrik (which means white back), as colour-sided animals typically have a white band along their spines. In several countries, animals are specifically bred for this colour pattern and thus the trait is conserved. Colour sidedness has been documented at least since the Middle Ages and is presently segregating in several cattle breeds around the world, including Belgian Blue, some Nordic breeds, Dutch Witrik, American Randall Lineback and Brown Swiss. By genotyping animals from several colour-sided breeds and comparing the data to those from a breed lacking this trait, scientists in Belgium were able to determine that colour sidedness in cattle is caused by segments of the genome that have been duplicated and exchanged between the Chromosomes 6 and 29 (Durkin et al., 2012).

This study marked the first example of a phenotype determined by duplicated genes found on separate chromosomes. The maintenance of several cattle breeds with the colour pattern facilitated the detection of this genetic mechanism previously unknown in mammals.

Provided by Kor Oldenbroek.

CGRFA/WG-AnGR-7/12/Inf.6 Gandini and Oldenbroek (2007) summarized these five categories into two main objectives:

1. Conservation for sustainable utilization of rural areas, including economic activities, socio cultural roles and environmental services.

2. Conservation of the flexibility of the genetic system, including reduction of risk and maintenance of opportunities for research and education.

The first objective can only be fully met through in vivo conservation programmes (with cryoconservation as a safety net). The second objective is most efficiently met by cryoconservation (with in vivo conservation as a facilitating mechanism speeding up the reconstruction of a breed).

Because the conservation objectives determine the appropriate conservation method, it is necessary to establish which conservation objectives relevant to the breeds under consideration for inclusion in a conservation programme.

Objective: To determine national objectives for conservation by species.

Inputs:

1. Governmental livestock development policy documents;

2. List of potential conservation objectives;

and 3. If available, the national strategy and action plan for animal genetic resources.

Output:

Relevant objectives for conservation of different species and breeds.

Task: Describe the objectives for conservation that apply in the different species and breeds under consideration Action 1. Analyse by species and breed the relevant objectives for conservation For a given species or breed, several objectives may apply. A breed can have a cultural value, fulfil an economic function and have a unique characteristic.

Action 2. Produce tables of species objectives Two tables should be created to distinguish between the two sets of objectives:

the five different objectives listed above;

and the two summarizing objectives, i.e. sustainable utilization of rural areas and maintenance of the genetic flexibility of the system.

Determine the position of each breed and develop a strategy for the future Rationale As described above, many breeds are set aside from the commercial production systems or are not involved in such systems. This creates the risk that the number of breeding animals within such breeds will decrease and in extreme cases that the breeds will become extinct. The present situation of such a breed in its production system and a strategy for the future can be determined by performing a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis (EURECA, 2010).

A SWOT analysis is an approach for evaluating an entity on the basis of its Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats, and for making decisions on future strategies and activities. SWOT analysis was developed in the 1960s by Dr Albert Humphrey of Stanford University in the United States of America. Although SWOT analysis was originally used for evaluation of businesses and is often applied in that context, it is now used in many fields. With respect to animal genetic resources, SWOT analysis is an individual or group activity that can be used to evaluate the status of breeds and to identify conservation strategies by analysing the characteristics of the breed and its relevant stakeholders, along with the possibilities and challenges facing them.

SWOT analysis for breeds consists of four steps (Martin-Collado et al., 2012):

Definition of the system to be analysed, i.e. defining the internal and external components of the system in which the breed has its primary position. The stakeholders and entities to CGRFA/WG-AnGR-7/12/Inf.6 involve in the process should be first identified. The stakeholders should be asked to list the breeds strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

Identification of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

Strengths are positive characteristics of a breed, the owners or the breed organization that improve the breeds value and competitiveness, especially with respect to other breeds.

Weaknesses are negative characteristics of a breed, the owners or the breed organization that hinder the breeds competitiveness and thus the sustainability of the breed and place it at a disadvantage with respect to other breeds. Some weaknesses may be common to all breeds;

e.g. susceptibility to some diseases, so relative weaknesses should be emphasized.

Opportunities are external conditions or possibilities that affect the breed, the owners or the breed organization and may offer particularly favourable circumstances for exploiting the breed relative to other breeds.

Threats are external challenges that affect the breed, the owners or the breed organization, which may have to be overcome to safeguard the viability of the breed.

Ranking of the driving factors: analyse and compare the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats and limit them to the most important (maximum of about three).

Identification and prioritization of conservation strategies by combining strengths with opportunities, weaknesses with opportunities, strengths with threats or weaknesses with threats (see below).

One of the main objectives of a SWOT analysis is to determine the current status of a breed and to consider what the future may hold, with and without intervention. The present status of the breed is determined by strengths and weaknesses, which are internal factors, particular to the breed. The future is determined by external factors, which consist of opportunities and threats. The internal factors can often be directly managed. The external factors create the challenges for a breed.

A SWOT analysis may serve as a decision-making tool for use in planning strategies for future breed management. A common approach is to emphasize two of the four categories. For example, strategies may be based on:

1. using the strengths to take advantage of the opportunities (SO-strategy);

2. using the strengths to reduce the likelihood and impacts of the threats (ST-strategy);

3. overcoming the weaknesses by using the opportunities (WO-strategy);

or 4. avoiding the likelihood of disastrous outcomes that may arise because of the combination of the weaknesses and the threats (WT-strategy).

Objective: To develop a conservation and sustainable use strategy for a breed.

Inputs:

1. A description of the characteristics of the breed, its history, knowledge about its functions and products and characteristics of the production system(s) where it is used.

2. An analysis of the present and potential stakeholders of the breed, trends in land use, livestock systems and the patterns of the human population in consumption of livestock products and services.

Output:

Alternative strategies for breed conservation and use.

Task: Determine the future conservation and use of a breed Action 1. Undertake a SWOT analysis of the breed and its stakeholders in its present system based on the characteristics of the breed and a stakeholder analysis The strength of a breed might be, for example, its genetic uniqueness, its adaptation to a production system or its past and present function in human culture. Another strength might be an effective breeding organization with sound programmes for registration of pedigrees and performance of individual animals. The weaknesses of a breed might be, for example, low production of commodities such as meat, milk or eggs, a small population size, a concentrated geographical distribution or owners CGRFA/WG-AnGR-7/12/Inf.6 with a high average age. Another weakness of the breed might be that the population genetic knowledge required for conservation activities is not available. Examples of opportunities may include consumer interest in breed-specific products, government support for nature management or other ecosystem services, or an increasing number of persons interested in hobby farming. Threats might include the importation of high-output animals belonging to an international transboundary breed or a governmental focus on production of livestock products for commodity rather than local markets.

Boxes 4 and 5, respectively, provide examples of SWOT analyses for a European cattle breed and a chicken breed in the United States of America.

Action 2. Prioritize the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats Once strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats have been identified, various approaches can be taken to developing strategies based on them. One option is to translate the most important strengths and the most important opportunities into a strategy for a breeding programme and for the sustainable use of the breed. Another approach is to confront the weaknesses of the breed with the opportunities and propose a strategy, including a management plan that overcomes the weaknesses by taking advantage of the opportunities.

Box SWOT analysis of Eastern Finncattle in Finland History Eastern Finncattle have a distinct phenotype, including a red colour-sided coat pattern with a broad white band on the back. They have been officially recognized as a distinct breed in Finland since the 1890s and a breeders association was formed in 1898. The activities of the association were initially focused on establishing a base registry of animals, and visible breed characteristics were stressed when selecting animals for breeding. From the 1920s onwards, the emphasis shifted to economically important traits and selection on recorded milk production was introduced. The breed registry included more than 15 000 animals by 1930. The Second World War had a disastrous effect on cattle numbers, reducing the breed to fewer than 5 000 animals. After the war, the decline continued, primarily because of breed substitution by Ayrshires and Friesians. The size of the population dropped to its lowest point in the 1980s, at which time only about 50 cows and fewer than 10 bulls remained. Fortunately, various conservation programmes were initiated and now the number of pure-bred cows is around 800 and slowly increasing.

Strengths: Unique and symbolic germplasm in Finland.

Weaknesses: Low milk yield Opportunities: Special features exploited in product development;

green care farms Threats: Many breeders lack the expertise (new farmers) or interest (hobby farmers) to apply selection to improve milk production Breeding, conservation and promotion The proportion of recorded cows is about 30 percent. The artificial insemination (AI) organization has 75 000 doses of semen from 48 bulls and 100 embryos from 18 cows (12 sires) stored in the national gene bank. The breeders organization recommends matings for each cow on the basis of genetic relationships within the population. Some breeders have been able to market their milk and meat by cooperating with restaurants. The farmers raising Eastern Finncattle also receive a subsidy from the government.

Source: EURECA (2010).

Action 3. Formulate the different alternative conservation and use strategies and evaluate them for viability It is important to be aware that some conservation strategies may work more efficiently for some breeds and species than others. For example, a strategy that involves using livestock to improve the CGRFA/WG-AnGR-7/12/Inf.6 livelihoods of rural women may be more appropriate for poultry or small ruminant breeds than for cattle, as these species will require a smaller initial investment and less use of other resources such as feed and housing.

Comparison of conservation options Rationale Conservation strategies can be categorized as in situ (conservation through continued use by livestock keepers in the production system in which the livestock evolved or are now normally found and bred) or ex situ (all other cases). The latter can be further divided into ex situ in vivo conservation (a limited number of animals kept outside their original production environment) and ex situ in vitro conservation (cryoconservation in a gene bank).

Box SWOT analysis of the Java chicken in the United States of America History The name suggests otherwise, but the Java chicken was developed in the United States of America;

foundation stock were of uncertain Asian origin. Java chickens were once common mid-level production birds in the country, but declining numbers in the face of the industrialization of poultry production reduced the breed to a relic status in need of targeted conservation programmes if the breed was going to survive, especially with any of its productive potential intact. A SWOT analysis revealed strategies forward.

Strengths: Historic status as a productive range-raised meat bird with desirable carcass characteristics and flavour.

Weaknesses: Reduced growth rates and size. Existence of only two breeding lines of the birds.

Diminished fertility and vitality.

Opportunities: Increased interest of consumers in extensively raised poultry meat from identifiable traditional breeds. Improved breeding and population management could reduce inbreeding depression.

Threats: Inbreeding depression (if not managed). Low numbers in few locations.

Breeding, conservation and promotion These factors were combined to develop a programme of crossing the two existing bloodlines, and then selecting the result for growth rate, fertility, and conformation. The boost from crossing the two relatively inbred populations restored the previous production level of the breed. A new breeders organization expanded the number of sites at which the breed was kept, which further enhanced the goal of reducing the risk associated with the loss of any one population. Splitting the population into several sites also subdivided the risk of uniform genetic drift and inbreeding in the entire breed. Increased production levels led to increased interest on the part of producers interested in alternatives to industrial production, which reversed the steady decline of the breed in both numbers and vitality.

Provided by Phil Sponenberg.

CGRFA/WG-AnGR-7/12/Inf.6 In situ conservation In the context of livestock diversity, in situ conservation is primarily the active breeding of animal populations for food and agricultural production such that genetic diversity is best utilized in the short term and maintained for the longer term. In situ conservation includes activities such as performance recording and development of breeding programmes with special emphasis on maintaining the genetic diversity within the breed. In situ conservation also includes ecosystem management and use for sustainable agriculture and food production of food.

Ex situ conservation In the context of livestock diversity, ex situ conservation means conservation away from the production systems where the resource was developed or is now normally found and bred. This includes both maintenance of live animals (ex situ in vivo) and cryoconservation.

Ex situ in vivo conservation This type of conservation is maintenance of live animal populations in environments that are not their normal management conditions - e.g. in zoological parks or governmental farms - and/or outside the area in which they evolved or are now normally found. For financial and practical reasons, animals are often kept in very limited numbers. Because the animals are kept in outside their normal production environments and their numbers are small, natural selection is usually no longer effective in its role of ensuring the adaptation of the population to these environments. It is strongly recommended that ex situ in vivo conservation be complemented with cryoconservation.

A key question with regard to ex situ in vivo conservation is whether or not long-term financial commitment is available to maintain generations of animals to the standards required for successful conservation.

Cryoconservation is the collection and deep-freezing of semen, ova, embryos or tissues, which may be used for future breeding or regenerating animals. Cryoconservation is also referred to as ex situ in vitro conservation. A key question for cryoconservation is whether, in the short term, the facilities and expertise required for the collection of the samples can be financed and put in place. The logistics and costs of providing and maintaining storage facilities will need to be addressed before the cryoconservation is carried out.

The roles of in situ and ex situ conservation Table 1 shows the relationship between conservation techniques and conservation objectives. This information can be used to find the appropriate conservation technique for meeting the conservation objectives for a breed. From the table it can be concluded that in situ conservation is the method of choice for most situations. In situ and ex situ strategies differ in their capacity to achieve the various conservation objectives. Cryoconservation is the method of choice when the flexibility of the genetic system is seen as the only objective for conservation. Ex situ in vivo conservation has little to add to cryoconservation, except in particular situations. For example, it may facilitate the regeneration of a breed with frozen semen by ensuring the presence of a few living females from which to start the regeneration process.

In situ and ex situ conservation are not mutually exclusive. The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD, 1992) emphasizes the importance of in situ conservation and considers ex situ conservation as an essential complementary activity to in situ. In situ conservation is often regarded as the preferred method because it ensures that a breed is maintained in a dynamic state (FAO, 2007a). This may be true when the adaptation and genetic change of a breed is slow and involves adaptation to a variety of demands, which helps to ensure the maintenance of genetic variability. However, commercially important breeds often suffer from high selection pressure associated with high levels of inbreeding (a few top sires fathering many offspring). Commercially less important breeds often have a small population size and are threatened by genetic drift and extinction (see Sections 2 and 6). In these two examples, standard in situ management may not be sufficient to conserve genetic diversity. Likewise, ex situ in vivo conservation will not always guarantee the maintenance of the original genetic diversity of a breed because the animals are not kept in their original production environments. Therefore, it is CGRFA/WG-AnGR-7/12/Inf.6 preferable that in vivo conservation, whether in situ or ex situ, be complemented by cryoconservation of germplasm (see also Section 4).

Table 1. Conservation techniques and objectives Technique Objective In situ Ex situ in vivo Cryoconservation Flexibility of the genetic system, as insurance against changes in production conditions yes yes yes safeguard against diseases, disasters, etc. no no yes yes opportunities for research yes yes Genetic factors continued breed evolution / genetic adaptation yes poor no increase knowledge of breed characteristics yes poor poor limit exposure to genetic drift* yes no yes Sustainable utilization of rural areas opportunities for rural development yes poor no maintenance of agro-ecosystem diversity yes limited no conservation of rural cultural diversity yes poor no *The extent of genetic drift will depend on the population size in situ and the number of animals sampled for cryoconservation.

Source: adapted from Gandini and Oldenbroek (2007).

Objective: To determine the appropriate conservation method for the breeds of a given species.

Input:

1. List of breeds and species to be conserved;

and 2. Description of the theoretically applicable conservation methods.

Output:

Description of the conservation options applicable for each species in your country.

Task: Describe the relevant options for conservation of the species and breeds in your country Action 1. Determine if the various methods for conservation are feasible given the existing or realistically-obtainable infrastructure and resources An in vivo programme can often only be organized effectively when an association of breeders exists or when governmental and non-governmental institutions have farms that can be used for this purpose (see Section 5). Cryoconservation can only be executed when it is possible to collect, to freeze and to store semen and other materials reliably and safely.

Action 2. Describe the conservation options that can be used for each species It may be useful to construct a table with rows for the species and breeds and columns for the conservation methods. It may be worthwhile to distinguish in situ, ex situ in vivo and cryoconservation.

Action 3. Determine what needs to be done to implement the relevant conservation methods in the relevant species The feasible conservation options were identified by Action 1, but some feasible options may not be immediately accessible. By evaluating the current status and future needs, the most appropriate options can be identified. Plans for implementing these options, including needs for training and facilities, can then be drawn up.

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Rome (available at ftp://ftp.fao.org/docrep/fao/010/a1404e/a1404e00.pdf).

FAO. 2007b. The State of the Worlds Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, edited by B. Rischkowsky & D. Pilling. Rome (available at www.fao.org/docrep/010/a1250e/a1250e00.htm).

FAO. 2009a. Preparation of national strategies and action plans for animal genetic resources. FAO Animal Production and Health Guidelines. No. 2. Rome (available at http://www.fao.org/docrep/012/i0770e/i0770e00.htm).

FAO. 2009b. Threats to animal genetic resources their relevance, importance and opportunities to decrease their impact. CGRFA Background Study Paper No. 50. Rome (available at ftp://ftp.fao.org/docrep/fao/meeting/017/ak572e.pdf).

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FAO. 2011. Surveying and monitoring of animal genetic resources. FAO Animal Production and Health Guidelines. No. 7. Rome (available at www.fao.org/docrep/014/ba0055e/ba0055e00.pdf).

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CGRFA/WG-AnGR-7/12/Inf.6 II. IDENTIFICATION OF BREEDS AT RISK Completing the actions described in Section 1 will provide an overview of information on the countrys livestock breeds and their functions, within the broader framework of the dynamics and trends of the livestock sector and opportunities for conservation of animal genetic resources. This section discusses the methodology for identifying breeds that are at risk of extinction, i.e. the breeds need to be targeted by conservation programmes. The risk of extinction of breeds can be assessed on the basis of the results of censuses and other surveys. Not all breeds at risk will have the same conservation value, and in some countries funds may be insufficient to conserve all at-risk breeds. Determining the conservation value and prioritizing breeds for conservation are dealt with in Section 3.

Determining the risk status of national animal genetic resources Rationale The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD, 1992) specifies the need for monitoring biological diversity, with particular attention to components of biodiversity requiring urgent conservation measures (Article 7). The importance of monitoring the level of risk of animal genetic resources is underlined in the Global Plan of Action for Animal Genetic Resources (FAO, 2007a): Complete national inventories, supported by periodic monitoring of trends and associated risks, are the basic requirements for the effective management of animal genetic resources. In the Global Plan of Action countries agreed to establish or strengthen country-based early warning and response systems.

Assessing the risk status of the countrys breeds is an essential element of such systems. Cooperation among countries is necessary for monitoring the risk status of transboundary breeds.

We can define the degree of risk of a breed as a measure of the likelihood that, under current circumstances and expectations, the breed will become extinct in a specified period of time, and/or that it will lose through time its genetic variation at a non-sustainable rate (Gandini et al., 2005), leading to a high proportion of monomorphic loci (i.e. regions in the genome with no genetic variability and genes with only a single allele), a greater occurrence of genetic defects and a loss of fitness and adaptability. The two aspects of breed extinction, loss of animals and loss of gene variants, are deeply interconnected. However, for a general treatment of the problem, we can frame the issue separately in genetic and in demographic terms.

Population size and rate of population change (for declining population sizes in particular) are the most important factors influencing a breeds risk of extinction. Obviously, the smaller a breeds the population size, the greater is the risk that it will be wiped out by a series of negative circumstances (e.g. low proportions of female offspring, poor fertility or survival) or a single catastrophe (e.g. war or disease outbreak). Breeds with continually decreasing population numbers will eventually reach a critically small size at which risk of extinction becomes high. Box 6 details how future population sizes can be predicted given the current population size and an estimate of the rate of population growth or decline.

Some complexity in this framework comes from the difficulties involved in accurately predicting the population growth rate over several years. Few countries have available the time series census data required for estimating the growth rates of their breed populations. Most importantly, the growth rate will usually not have a constant value but will change unpredictably over time. Growth rate might change, for example, because a breeds profitability, and consequently farmers interest in keeping it, is affected by changes in the market, competition with other production sectors or the introduction of new regulations. As noted in Section 1, when reliable breed population data are not available, general trends in the livestock sector have to be used to determine whether animal genetic resources are likely to be at risk. Estimates obtained using from general trends are likely to be imprecise, so breed-based surveys should be given high priority.

CGRFA/WG-AnGR-7/12/Inf.6 Box Growth rate and the dynamics of population size Consider that N 0 represents the size of a population of breeding females of a breed at a given time and that r represents the multiplicative growth rate per year (e.g. r = 1.01 corresponds to an increase of 1 percent per year). When r = 1 population is stable, r >1 and <1 correspond respectively to positive and negative (decline) rates of growth. After one year, the new population size, N 1, will be equal to N 0 multiplied by r (i.e. N 1 = N 0 r) and after t years N t will be equal to N 0 multiplied by rt (i.e. N t = N 0 rt). The table below shows several examples of 5-year population size estimates for different values of N 0 and r.

Example of growth dynamics in five years with different initial population sizes and growth rates Initial population size Growth rate Population after five years Trend (N0) (r) (N5) 250 1.21 648 + 1 000 0.92 659 2 000 0.80 655 In these three examples, the initial population numbers vary greatly, but after five years all three populations have a similar size about 650 breeding females. This example demonstrates the strong impact of growth rate, which is a parameter that can be influenced by the existence and effectiveness of conservation programmes.

A limit of this simple prediction model is that population growth rate is assumed to be constant, with no variance across years, whereas smaller populations are more likely to be affected by random variation in survival and reproductive rates. Nevertheless, this simple model gives us important information with which to plan conservation actions, for example on the expected period of time within which we have to act if population extinction is to be avoided.

In addition to population size and trends, other demographic factors can influence risk. Concentration of the population in a restricted area or in a limited number of herds may place it at greater risk of extinction. Another element to take into account is the possible presence of controlled or uncontrolled cross-breeding. For each cross-bred mating, the breed population size is effectively decreased by one half of an individual from a genetic point of view and by a whole individual from the perspective of maintaining a pure-breeding population.

To analyse risk in terms of the loss of genetic variation, it is necessary to understand that breeding populations undergo random fluctuations in the content of the gene pool (genetic drift) from one generation to the next, depending on the sample of animals that are chosen as the parents of the next generation. When populations are smaller, these fluctuations tend to be larger. This process also tends to reduce genetic variation because the probability that alleles will be lost from the population is increased. Genetic variation is necessary for the adaptation of the population to changes in the production environment and in market demands, as well as to guarantee response to selection programmes. This topic is discussed in more detail in Section 6.

A variety of parameters can be used to measure genetic variation. The average coancestry (typically expressed as f) of a population (i.e. breed) is the most appropriate proper measure of its genetic variation. Nevertheless, the inbreeding coefficient (typically expressed as F) is the most commonly used parameter for monitoring genetic drift and the consequent loss of genetic variation. Section discusses the relationship between inbreeding and coancestry, including those cases in which the inbreeding and coancestry parameters provide different information. Another commonly used parameter is the effective population size (N e ), which is defined as the number of breeding individuals in an idealized population that would show the same amount of random genetic drift or the same amount of inbreeding as the population under consideration. An idealized population is a randomly mated population with equal numbers of males and females with a uniform probability of contributing progeny, CGRFA/WG-AnGR-7/12/Inf.6 and not subjected to other forces that change genetic variability, such as mutation, migration and selection. The idealized population is primarily a theoretical concept, rather than a reality, especially for livestock. In livestock populations, N e is usually smaller than the actual (census) population size because of a smaller number of breeding males than females, large differences in the number of progeny per animal (particularly among males) and the presence of selection. Inbreeding increases at a rate per generation that is inversely proportional to the N e, as F = 1/(2N e ). A larger N e thus is considered advantageous because it is associated with more genetic variation and less inbreeding.

Box Basic rules for computing effective population size (N e ) The effective population size (N e ) is the number of breeding individuals in an idealized population that would show the same amount of random genetic drift or the same amount of inbreeding as the population under consideration. Livestock populations obviously differ from such an idealized population, which has equal numbers of males and females, among other characteristics. There are different models for computing N e, that take into account various aspects in which real populations deviate from the idealized population.

The simplest model (Wright, 1931), takes into account the fact that numbers of breeding males and breeding females are usually not equal, as N e = (4*N M *N F )/(N M +N F ), where N M and N F are the numbers of breeding males and females used as parents. Because half the genetic information is transmitted by each gender, the scarcer gender is the limiting factor that primarily influences N e.

For example:

Population A: 5 breeding males and 995 breeding females, for a total of 1 000 breeding animals.

N e = (4 5 995) / 1 000 = 19. Population B: 20 breeding males and 980 breeding females, also 1 000 breeding animals.

N e = (4 20 980) / 1 000 = 78. As inbreeding increases at a rate per generation that is inversely proportional to the N e, F = 1 / (2N e ), population A is exposed to a F almost four times greater than population B, although both populations comprise the same number of breeding animals.

It is important to recall that the above N e model assumes random mating, with no selection and no variance in the number of progeny produced by each breeding animal. If selection is present, even simple mass selection (i.e. selection based on phenotype), the Wright formula overestimates N e and consequently leads to an underestimation of F. Given that mass selection is practically always present to some degree in livestock populations, it is advisable to account for selection according to the model proposed by Santiago and Caballero (1995). Their model for accounting for selection is to decrease the estimated N e by 30 percent (adjusted N e = original N e 0.7). Applying the adjustment to the above example, for population A, N e = [(4 5 995) / 1 000] 0.7 = 13.9;

and for population B, N e = [(4 20 980) / 1 000] 0.7 = 54.9.

If information from related animals is used for the estimation of breeding values (e.g. with family based indices, or the method of best linear unbiased prediction usually abbreviated as BLUP), adjustment factors even smaller than 0.7 should be used unless inbreeding restriction strategies are implemented. In general, methods to control and monitor inbreeding should be used whenever selection is applied, but this is particularly important for small populations such as those in conservation programmes (see Section 7).

Even in the case of no selection, the stochastic (random) variability of the number of progeny may be high and affect N e. This factor is not taken into account here, but it is discussed in Section 7.

The rate of inbreeding has a predictable form, and has a very important relationship with the loss of variation: if g 2 is the genetic variation, then the loss per generation is: g 2 = F * g 2. Excessive F might also result in decreases in fertility and productivity (this phenomenon is called inbreeding CGRFA/WG-AnGR-7/12/Inf.6 depression;

see Section 6 and particularly Box 31) as well as increases in the occurrence of genetic abnormalities.

The well-known formula of Wright (1931):

N e = (4*N M *N F )/(N M +N F ), where, N M = number of males, and N F = the number of females provides a simple estimate of N e, gives a useful general idea of the dynamics of genetic variability within a given population. In livestock, other approaches for calculating of N e are more precise because Wrights formula assumes several conditions that are rarely met in livestock populations (see Box 7).

Therefore, we have two major criteria for evaluating the risk status of a population:

1. demographics (parameter: number of breeding females), and 2. genetic criteria (parameter: N e ).

In assigning populations to risk categories, these two criteria are assumed to be independent, although the genetic and demographic parameters are obviously correlated.

In addition to future inbreeding, it is also necessary to consider inbreeding accumulated in the population during the recent past. High F in the past may correspond to low current genetic variability in the population and therefore poor fitness and adaptability. Cumulated inbreeding can be estimated from the demographic history of the population, such as the presence of bottlenecks (periods of time when there were particularly low numbers of breeding animals) or can be computed from pedigree information, if this is available, following standard techniques (e.g. path analysis and tabular methods Falconer and Mackay, 1996). The reliability of pedigree-based estimates of inbreeding depends on the number of generations of ancestry recorded. To obtain meaningful estimates, a minimum of five generations is recommended.

Breed risk status is a complex issue, first because numerous factors are involved (see Section 1), but also because all the information needed to estimate the parameters necessary for predicting risk status is rarely available. Various parameters and procedures of varying complexity have been proposed for estimating risk status and some are in use (for reviews see Gandini et al., 2005;

Alderson, 2009;

Alderson, 2010;

Boettcher et al., 2010). FAO has selected some simple parameters that can be obtained in many situations, thus allowing most countries to categorize breeds according to risk (see Task 2, Action 1 of this section). In countries where more information is available, additional more accurate estimates can be obtained. However, it is strongly recommended that, in such cases, countries also calculate the simple estimates in order to allow harmonization of risk status figures internationally.

Objective: To obtain objective information about the risk status of each breed.

Inputs:

1. List of breeds within the country (from the tasks of Section 1);

2. Existing information about population sizes, the composition of the populations, trends and the geographical distribution of breeds;

3. Existing information on the same or similar breeds in other countries;

and 4. Surveying and monitoring of animal genetic resources (FAO, 2011b).

Outputs:

New information about population size and trends and geographical distribution;

List of breeds with their respective risk status;

and Methodology with which to update the risk status regularly.

Task 1. Determine the population size, structure, trend, geographical distribution, and cross-breeding activities in all the breeds under consideration CGRFA/WG-AnGR-7/12/Inf.6 Action 1. Review the information available about breed population sizes Many countries lack formal systems for surveying of breeds and routine monitoring of population sizes. If no such systems are in place, the availability of data from other sources should be reviewed.

FAO guidelines on Surveying and monitoring of animal genetic resources (FAO, 2011b) are a valuable resource for establishing such systems.

Action 2. Form a task force to conduct breed surveys An entity with the responsibility of determining the level of risk of national animal genetic resources should be identified. This entity might be the National Advisory Committee for Animal Genetic Resources or equivalent body, a specific task force established by the National Advisory Committee or any other body that has sufficient knowledge of animal genetic resources and their management.

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