Challenges for genetic improvement of livestock and aquatic animals

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Uthairat Na-Nakorn
Skorn Koonawootrittriron


This article reviews the challenges for genetic improvement of livestock and aquatic animals to produce suffi cient qualities and quantities of food supplies for the increasing world population. Both sectors are threatened by various factors, and genetic improvement is a promising way to achieve the goals. For livestock genetic improvement, it is crucial to enhance contributions to small scale farmers, probably through on-farm genetic improvement programs, while minimizing the impact on extinction of local breeds. Genetic improvement can mitigate climate change by improving traits that indirectly result in less emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) throughout the production period. It also provides adaptation measures by improving animals with adaptability (e.g., heat tolerance, disease resistance, etc.) traits. Genetic improvement for stress tolerance and other related traits would cope with issues on animal welfare while disease resistant traits would partially solve problems enhanced by globalization (e.g., trans-boundary animal translocation). While in the aquaculture sector, genetic improvement also has high potential to overcome the upcoming limitations and threats, particularly climate change (e.g., improving salt tolerance traits to cope with saline water intrusion, stress tolerance traits to withstand extreme environments, etc.), concern about animal welfare (e.g., improving stress tolerant traits), and globalization (e.g., improving disease resistant traits). However, due to a large number of species to work with and short history of development, there are more limitations to tackle on the aquaculture side. To attain a successful genetic improvement program, the studies on the following issues are at priori, characterization of gene pools, development of effi cient breeding techniques, development of cost effective tagging techniques, and characterization of target traits for genetic improvement.

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Na-Nakorn, U. ., & Koonawootrittriron, S. . (2015). Challenges for genetic improvement of livestock and aquatic animals. Food Agricultural Sciences and Technology, 1(2), 18–25. Retrieved from


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