Articles | Volume 49, issue 6
10 Oct 2006
 | 10 Oct 2006

Early warning system for loss of diversity in European livestock breeds

Z. Duchev, O. Distl, and E. Groeneveld

Abstract. Towards the end of the previous century the increasing erosion of biological diversity in livestock was recognized by the animal breeders as an area which needs monitoring and conservation measures. For that purpose various national, regional and global infrastructures was put in place by governmental and non-governmental organizations like European Association for Animal Production (EAAP), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations and Rare Breeds International, etc. These organizations have developed a number of methods for estimation the risk status of the breed. However, the different systems use different parameters and thresholds and are hard to compare. Several attempts for uniform European criterion have been made, but still no consensus has been reached. In this study we continue the work of the Animal Genetic Resources group of EAAP towards the uniform criterion based on the effective population size, the expected number of breeding females and the global population. Our main contribution is the novel approach in handling the parameter global population, allowing its external parameterization. The criterion was applied to 21 pig breeds from 8 European countries and the results show clear not at risk status of the big international breeds.