Knowledge for Animal Breeding
The opportunities and knowledge required to improve the technology of animal breeding are assessed relative to the baseline of ca. 2% annual genetic improvement that is possible at present. Present knowledge of the control of reproduction is such that multiple ovulation and embryo transfer (m.o.e.t.) schemes could virtually double the rate of genetic change in species such as cattle where the annual selection intensity is limited by the reproductive rate. There are direct indications from research that new knowledge to facilitate recognition of genetic merit could have a similar impact. Physical techniques such as computerized tomography could aid the assessment of carcass characteristics. Biological knowledge indicates that while biochemical techniques (enzymes or restriction fragment length polymorphism, r.f.l.p.), based on the importance of single alleles may make specific contributions, physiological techniques may have a more general role to play in the recognition of genetic merit. Research in molecular biology points the way to gene transfer, the original genetics of extra specific genes and the production of novel products such as blood clotting factors by domestic animals. Genetic improvement is welfare and `Green' positive; once achieved, it is maintained with no further input but, as a long-term investment, there is the need for a social framework to ensure the application of knowledge to technology.
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London Series B
- Pub Date:
- September 1985