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Dernière mise à jour : Mai 2018

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Conciliating animal genetic resource conservation and improvement

The richness of animal genetic resources (RGA) in tropical regions is associated with a demographic history of populations and natural and artifical selection processes (domestication and use by men).

The intesification of international commerce is threatening the sustainability of these resources, through growing cross-breeding with exogenous breeds and even replacement by these breeds. A major stake for the development of breeding in the tropics is therefore to conciliate conservation and improvement of RGA in order to improve the sustainability of livestock system productivity.

The use of new genomics tools (gentoyping with high throughput SNP and sequencing) may contribute to improving our knowledge and use of the tropical RGA in relations with their farming systems. These tools provide an improved characterization of local breeds both in terms of neutral and adaptive genetic diversity, in order to preserve diversity, identify populations important to conserve and select populations in order to meet the challenges of world agriculture.

In addition, these new tools have contributed to the development of new selection methods: genomic selection which will cut down on testing and acquisition of pedigrees in developed countries. Under tropical conditions, it is necessary to estimate the feasibility of transfer of genomic selection, in particular in certain farming systems and to evaluate the importance of exogenous breeds in the improvement of animal productivity.

Within this context, it appears to be urgent to evaluate the RGA and farming systems in the tropics, using new genomics tools and to debate on their use for a sustainable management of animal genetic resources in the tropics.