The Organization Of Genetic Improvement

Pure-breeding, as we define it now, started in Britain in the second half of the 18th century. However, breed societies for pigs only appeared about one century later. In the course of time, breed societies became more and more constructive forces, and increasingly contributed to genetic improvement.[1]

Pig farms have specific functions in genetic improvement, according to whether they actually generate genetic changes (nucleus), or disseminate these (multiplier), or at the end, take advantage of them in a production system (producer). This three-tier breeding pyramid has been the basic structure for pig improvement in most countries for the last few decades, together with crossbreeding for exploiting heterosis effects.

Such an organization requires integrating the two upper tiers of the breeding pyramid, as achieved by independent breeding organizations (either private or cooperative) or within national schemes implemented in many countries, following the early Danish example mentioned previously.

The role played by breeding companies varies between countries. They can provide more than 50% of the replacements in some countries, compared to hardly any in others.

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