Animal Breeding: What Does the Future Hold?

  • Eisen, E.J. (Animal Science Department., Box 7621, North Carolina State University)
  • Received : 2006.02.15
  • Accepted : 2006.07.10
  • Published : 2007.03.01


An overview of developments important in the future of animal breeding is discussed. Examples from the application of quantitative genetic principles to selection in chickens and mice are given. Lessons to be learned from these species are that selection for production traits in livestock must also consider selection for reproduction and other fitness-related traits and inbreeding should be minimized. Short-term selection benefits of best linear unbiased predictor methodology must be weighed against long-term risks of increased rate of inbreeding. Different options have been developed to minimize inbreeding rates while maximizing selection response. Development of molecular genetic methods to search for quantitative trait loci provides the opportunity for incorporating marker-assisted selection and introgression as new tools for increasing efficiency of genetic improvement. Theoretical and computer simulation studies indicate that these methods hold great promise once genotyping costs are reduced to make the technology economically feasible. Cloning and transgenesis are not likely to contribute significantly to genetic improvement of livestock production in the near future.


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