Since domestication, sheep have contributed to the sustenance and comfort of human society. Currently, the role of sheep enterprises in much of the world is the production of lamb meat. Besides sheep numbers, the reproductive efficiency of ewes is the key determinant to lamb output. Reproductive efficiency can be improved by crossing breeds with complementary attributes for reproductive traits. Yet benefits from crossbreeding depend on the genetic merit of the pure breeds crossed. Therefore, effective selection programs within breeds are crucial. The focus of this article is to describe those traits central to improving meat production in sheep, and genetic approaches to improve these traits.

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