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This section serves as an update of the overview of the state of the art in genetic improvement methods presented in the first report on The State of the World’s Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (first SoW-AnGR) (FAO, 2007a).1 The importance of appropriate breeding strategies and programmes is highlighted throughout the Global Plan of Action for Animal Genetic Resources (FAO, 2007b), particularly in Strategic Priority Area 2, Sustainable Use and Development. The material presented in the first SoW-AnGR included an overview of the “context for genetic improvement”, which described both the factors influencing the objectives of breeding programmes (market demands, wider societal concerns about the nature and impacts of livestock production, the need to provide animals suitable for a diverse range of production environments, growing recognition of the importance of maintaining genetic diversity in livestock populations, etc.) and the latest scientific and technological developments in the field. This was followed by a description of the various activities or “elements” that make up a breeding programme and then by a review of the current state of breeding programmes by production system (high input vs. low input) and by species. Much of this material remains relevant. While the livestock sector is continuously evolving (see Part 2), the challenges that breeding programmes have to contend with remain broadly similar to those that existed at the time the first SoW-AnGR was prepared (2005/2006). Similarly, the basic constituent elements of a typical breeding programme have not changed.


This report is published as FAO. 2015. Part 4: THE STATE OF THE ART, Section C: Breeding strategies and programmes In: The Second Report on the State of the World’s Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, edited by B.D. Scherf & D. Pilling. FAO Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture Assessments. Rome. Posted with permission.

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