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Livestock biodiversity








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    Book (stand-alone)
    The State of the World’s Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture 2007
    The wise management of the world’s agricultural biodiversity is becoming an ever greater challenge for the international community. The livestock sector in particular is undergoing dramatic changes as large-scale production expands in response to surging demand for meat, milk and eggs. A wide portfolio of animal genetic resources is crucial to adapting and developing our agricultural production systems. Climate change and the emergence of new and virulent animal diseases underline the need to re tain this adaptive capacity. For hundreds of millions of poor rural households, livestock remain a key asset, often meeting multiple needs, and enabling livelihoods to be built in some of the world’s harshest environments. Livestock production makes a vital contribution to food and livelihood security, and to meeting the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. It will be of increasing significance in the coming decades. And yet, genetic diversity is under threat. The reported rate of breed extinctions is of great concern, but it is even more worrying that unrecorded genetic resources are being lost before their characteristics can be studied and their potential evaluated. Strenuous efforts to understand, prioritize and protect the world’s animal genetic resources for food and agriculture are required. Sustainable patterns of utilization must be established. Traditional livestock keepers – often poor and in marginal environments – have been the stewards of much of our animal geneti c diversity. We should not ignore their role or neglect their needs. Equitable arrangements for benefit-sharing are needed, and broad access to genetic resources must be ensured. An agreed international framework for the management of these resources is crucial.
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    Book (series)
    Innovations in cryoconservation of animal genetic resources
    Practical guide
    2023
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    The livestock sector faces a range of challenges, including climate change, emerging diseases, competition for natural resources and evolving demand for animal-source foods, which is increasing globally, especially in developing countries. Genetic diversity of livestock is a key resource for allowing livestock keepers to address these challenges, but this diversity has been in a state of decline. The diminishing genetic diversity thus represents yet another obstacle for sustainable livestock production. Cryoconservation (i.e. ex situ – in vitro conservation) of genetic resources through gene banking provides one of the most powerful tools governments and other stakeholders have to manage genetic diversity in both the short and long term and thereby provide future generations with the tools to meet the challenges ahead. Gene banking genetic resources fits within the context of the Global Plan of Action for Animal Genetic Resources, which was developed and adopted by FAO Member Nations. Specifically, Strategic Priority 9 of the Global Plan of Action is “Establish or strengthen ex situ conservation programmes” and Strategic Priority 11 urges countries to “Develop approaches and technical standards for conservation. To assist countries in the implementation the Global Plan of Action, FAO worked with experts from around the world to prepare technical guidelines. In 2012 FAO published FAO Guidelines on Cryoconservation of animal genetic resources. Gene banking is a long-term effort that needs to be viewed in terms of decades rather than years, as demonstrated by similar systems for agricultural crops. The responsibility for establishing such resources lies squarely within governments’ roles of providing public goods and food security. Gene banking of animal genetic resources is a technology-intense undertaking and the associated technologies are in a continual state of research and development. The livestock sector also continues to evolve rapidly. Since the development and release of the previous guidelines, numerous changes have taken place. Critical among these is a greater appreciation of the opportunities for actively utilizing cryopreserved material to enhance management of in vivo populations, rather than as simply an “insurance policy” to protect breeds against extinction. This key development has led to further changes in gene bank management. First, interaction with users of the stored material has increased. This in turn has created a need to involve stakeholders more closely in the management of genetic collections and to better monitor and document the processes of gene banking to ensure quality management.
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    Book (stand-alone)
    The management of global animal genetic resource, Rome, Italy, April 1992
    Proceedings of an FAO Expert Consultation
    1992
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    The subject of this publication is the global management of animal genetic resources, namely of the domesticated livestock and poultry species and breeds. Attention is focussed upon the genetic resources themselves, upon the need to identify and to give priority to those which are threatened and to regular monitoring mechanisms for discerning changes in the status of animal populations. Practical issues of conservation are evaluated and the need to combine both preservation and improved use is e mphasized. Biotechnology prospects for use with animal genetic resources are described. Attention is given to the institutional, financial and administrative structures needed for a global programme and for its regional and national components. The papers presented in this publication were prepared and studied at the Expert Consultation by the authors and others. Participants attended in their personal capacities and covered all areas of the world and all the domestic species. The recommendation s are given in full and are directed towards Institutional Infrastructures, Monitoring Practices, Breed Development and Conservation Programmes, Biotechnology and Legal Aspects.

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