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Dernière mise à jour : Mai 2018

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Focus on genetic resources and their management in ruminant species in the Caribbean

INRA Prod. Anim., 14(3), 181-192.


INRA Unité de Recherches Zootechniques, Domaine Duclos, Prise d’Eau, 97170 Petit Bourg, Guadeloupe (FWI)


The present domestic ruminant species were shipped to the Caribbean after the 15th century. After the introduction of the first iberical stocks, the stocks proceeded from different origins, according to the colonisation process. Therefore, historical events are responsible for the livestock presently reared on the islands. Various degrees of crossbreedings have occurred, in some cases substituting the local populations. A variety of original local breeds still remains, in spite of recent breed introductions related to commercial exchanges and technical advances in animal reproduction.

These local breeds give a fair contribution to animal production in the region, mainly in traditional or family-size breeding systems, in which their adaptation qualities are appreciated. In spite of their lack of specialisation, they also exhibit interesting production potential. Finally, they are also choice biological models for studies of interesting adaptation traits, such as the resistance to certain tropical diseases.

Few programs have been initiated for the preservation or the management of local animal genetic resources in the Caribbean. Some are conducted in the Upper Antilles, where some creole stocks remain, as well as some well established, recently created synthetic breeds. In the Lesser Antilles, the French overseas departments promote in situ management actions, with concerted breeding programs.

In spite of their reduced and scattered flock size, the Caribbean own a layer of local genetic resources, which are poorly documented and exploited. Recent works have raised the interest for these resources and for the development of sustainable breeding systems. A global strategy for the management of the local populations in the Caribbean and Latin America could enhance the efforts of the different partners.

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