THE GENETICS OF SELECTING FOR TRAITS
Paul Grobler
University of the Free State, Department of Genetics

 

Abstract
The possible consequences of intensive breeding in the South African wildlife industry are currently the subject of considerable attention. The practices surrounding intensive breeding are often criticized and research is indeed needed from several perspectives. Firstly, animals are almost unavoidably line-bred to perpetuate the desired phenotype, as a result of profit-driven management strategies, and this holds the very real possibility of inducing inbreeding. A second reason is possible non-random association of alleles at different loci (or linkage disequilibrium) involving the effect of intensive directional selection at one or two loci on allele diversity at other loci. Conversely, and despite the perceived risks, there is no direct evidence to suggest that intensive breeding will necessarily have bad consequences for local populations or the wider gene pool of a given species. Research on the genetic effects of intensive breeding should focus on (i) the mechanisms of atypical phenotypes, (ii) modelling of the genetic effects in local and wider populations, and (iii) genetic screening of animals in typical case studies involving various degrees of intensive breeding. Knowledge on these parameters can guide decision-making on the control of intensive breeding, if such control is deemed necessary based on scientific results.

 

Presentation Topic

THE GENETICS OF SELECTING FOR TRAITS

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