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Resources 2013, 2(3), 335-357; doi:10.3390/resources2030335

Cattle Breeds: Extinction or Quasi-Extant?

Department of Animal Breeding and Genetics, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), P.O. Box 7023, Uppsala SE-750 07, Sweden
International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), P.O. Box 30709, Nairobi 00100, Kenya
Department of Animal Production, University of Nairobi, P.O. Box 30197, Nairobi 00100, Kenya
Swedish Dairy Association, P.O. Box 7023, Uppsala SE-750 07, Sweden
Department of Agricultural Production, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Makerere University, P.O. Box 7062, Kampala, Uganda
Department of Animal Breeding and Genetics, Bangladesh Agricultural University (BAU), Mymensingh 2202, Bangladesh
APTA-PRDTA Nordeste Paulista, P.O. Box 58, Mococa, São Paulo 13730-970, Brazil
Embrapa Genetic Resources and Biotechnology, P.O. Box 02372, Brasília-DF 70770-917, Brazil
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 13 June 2013 / Revised: 31 July 2013 / Accepted: 10 August 2013 / Published: 27 August 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Equitable and Sustainable Use of Genetic Resources)
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Uniquely selected breeds bred over thousands of years of domestication in a wide range of environments have been declared extinct over the last century. Still more breeds are at risk of becoming extinct and the rate continues to accelerate. Assessing the current status and possible future dynamics of livestock breeds is therefore a critical step in the management of Animal Genetic Resources (AnGR). This study applies a qualitative approach to comprehensively analyze cattle genetic resources in selected countries in order to better understand the risk status of cattle breeds and those that need to be considered extinct and/or quasi-extant. The status of each breed, i.e., not at risk, critical, endangered and extinct, was verified using information available at the Domestic Animal Diversity Information System (DAD-IS) web site, as well as cattle statistics (where available) and a breed survey. In most examples, breeds listed as extinct have played important roles in the development of new breeds, and should not be classified as extinct, unless proven otherwise, given that even breeds existing in vivo are developing. Therefore, a new risk status quasi-extant for this category of cattle breeds is suggested. In addition, based on the findings of this study, the concept of breed needs to be questioned as relates to it being a good measure of genetic diversity. Further investigations of the situation of cattle breeds (and other livestock species) in more countries/continents using similar categories are deemed necessary.
Keywords: cattle; extinction; breeds; measures of diversity; risk classification cattle; extinction; breeds; measures of diversity; risk classification
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Bett, R.C.; Okeyo, M.A.; Malmfors, B.; Johansson, K.; Agaba, M.; Kugonza, D.R.; Bhuiyan, A.; Filho, A.E.V.; Mariante, A.S.; Mujibi, F.D.; Philipsson, J. Cattle Breeds: Extinction or Quasi-Extant? Resources 2013, 2, 335-357.

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