Genetic diversity, in both wild and domestic species, is a limited resource worth preserving for future generations (Oldfield 1984; Alderson 1990; FAO 1992; NRC 1993; Bixby et al. 1994). While many strong advocates promote the conservation of wild species, fewer are aware of the increasing loss of biodiversity in our major food species, particularly among domestic birds. Fortunately, breed conservation organizations have already made some progress in encouraging hobbyists and small-scale farmers in their role as conservators of unique and historically important breeds (Bixby et al. 1994), particularly the less common chicken and turkey breeds (Crawford and Christman 1992). These two species are considered more at-risk than most other livestock species (e.g., cow, pig, sheep, goat, or horse) due to recent and extraordinarily rapid expansion of the commercial poultry industry.
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