Free Access
Genet. Sel. Evol.
Volume 38, Number 2, March-April 2006
Page(s) 201 - 220
Published online 24 February 2006
Genet. Sel. Evol. 38 (2006) 201-220
DOI: 10.1051/gse:2005036

Estimation of breed contributions to present and future genetic diversity of 44 North Eurasian cattle breeds using core set diversity measures

Jörn Bennewitza, Juha Kantanenb, Ilma Tapiob, Meng Hua Lib, Ernst Kalma, Johanna Vilkkib, Innokentyi Ammosovc, Zoya Ivanovad, Tatyana Kiselyovae, Ruslan Popovf and Theo H.E. Meuwisseng

a  Institute of Animal Breeding and Husbandry, Christian-Albrechts-University, 24098 Kiel, Germany
b  Biotechnology and Food Research, MTT Agrifood Research Finland, 31600 Jokioinen, Finland
c  Batagay-Alyta, 678580, Sakha, Russia
d  Yakut State Agricultural Academy, Ul. Krasilnikova 15, Yakutsk, 677002, Sakha, Russia
e  Department of Genetics and Biotechnology, All-Russian Research Institute for Farm Animal Genetics and Breeding, Moskowskoye shosse-55a, 189620 St. Petersburg-Pushkin, Russia
f  Department of Farm Animals and Breeding, Ministry of Agriculture and Resources of Sakha, Yakutsk, 677007, Sakha, Russia
g  Institute of Animal and Aquacultural Sciences, Agriculture University of Norway, Box 5052, 1432 Ås, Norway

(Received 13 June 2005; accepted 26 October 2005; published online 24 February 2006)

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

Key words: diversity measure / marginal diversity / extinction probability / cattle breeds / genetic conservation

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© INRA, EDP Sciences 2006