Conclusions

The international exchange of animal genetic resources has had a large and significant impact on global livestock production. In general, the exchange of germplasm has been positive in increasing the economic viability of national livestock industries. However, a negative aspect to this type of trade is that it tends to decrease genetic diversity of major production species and in some instances displaces some indigenous livestock breeds. But this breed substitution is not simply a function of importation of different germplasm. Rather, the imported germplasm is better able to meet consumer demands and increase production efficiency. To counter the reduction in genetic diversity and breed substitution, nations can establish national genetic conservation programs that will enable better management of genetic diversity and the conservation of breed variation.

Technically, increasing international germplasm trade requires improved cryopreservation protocols across species, refinement of health tests, sharing of performance information for genetic evaluation, and mechanisms to help value the financial worth of the commodity being traded. From a nonbiological perspective, artificial trade barriers must be removed and a willingness of governments is needed to allow the livestock sector to explore the full utilization of genetic resources.

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