Technical Aspects

Several technical aspects need to be in place to facilitate international exchange of genetic resources. The ability to move germplasm either as cryopreserved semen or as embryos significantly increases the ease by which germ-plasm can be moved. Cryopreservation of sperm is feasible for most livestock species (Table 2), whereas embryos are a less reliable form of preservation. For most species, cryopreservation procedures have not been optimized and such an effort would facilitate the efficiency of germplasm exchange. For nonruminant species, considerable efforts are needed to improve cryopreservation of embryos. Although cryopreservation of germplasm facilitates international trade, it does not alleviate the need to follow health testing protocols that the importing and exporting countries have. Across species, there are technologies that enable health officials to test germ-plasm directly or blood samples from the imported or exported animal.

International genetic evaluations that estimate breeding values across countries provide another mechanism that can facilitate international trade. Such an approach provides a multinational evaluation of an individual animal's performance; it has also been shown that the predicted accuracy of the evaluation is increased by utilization of performance data from multiple countries. Therefore, it is possible for breeders to globally identify sires with desired performance levels. This capability has the potential to allow a wide range of producers in different countries access to genetic resources that rapidly alter performance. Conversely it may also speed a reduction in genetic diversity.

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