What goes into animal breeding (reproduction)?

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Reproduction is a natural phenomenon that every species go through. Animal breeding refers to a branch of science which evaluates genetically about the livestock. In other words, it is said that in order to produce animals which are suitable and highly productive, the mating of animals is done which is called animal breeding. There are various principles of animal breeding and the scientific one includes quantitative genetics, population genetics, molecular genomics, statistics, and biology. To improve the efficiency of the animals of the farm these principles are made. The primary and main focus of this is genetically evaluating the domestic livestock.

Importance of Animal Breeding


  • Out of the total global value, livestock and animals cover 40 percent of agricultural output.
  • Of almost a billion people all over the world, it also contributes to their food security and livelihoods.
  • There are advances in industries which can be seen because of the advancement of genetics, animal breeding, and genomics. Animal feed efficiency has also increased vastly.
  • In species which are raised intensively, the evolvement of Genetic uniformity can be seen in them.
  • The resilience to the stresses related to the climate has increased in animals because of improvement in ruminant genetics. It has also increased reproductive performance and emission reduction has also increased in some countries.


Systems of Mating

There are mainly two types of the mating system which are listed below.


  • Artificial – In this type mating is done by compiling from males the semen and inseminating from females. A large number of progenies which are high performing and products are produced.
  • Natural – When mating of animals is done through natural means when it comes under this category.


Variations and Breeding

During the 18th century, one such professional and the renowned breeder was Robert Bakewell. He was a breeder of commercial livestock and he used traditional methods. Though he did not make any records of his work it said that he got diverse breeds. He was widely known as the first scientific breeder. In order to breed the successive generation, genetic variation is necessary.

Selective breeding makes use of the natural variations that take place in traits among the members of any population. The understanding of two variation sources is very essential in breeding progress and that is environment and genetics. The environment includes care, amount of feed, weather etc that can affect their reproduction, growth, and productivity. Variations in the environment do not transmit to the next generation. In some cases, the genetic has less impact than the environment on the variation.


  • Additive Variation – this is found to be the easiest among all. It is common and every allele adds up to the locus. These pass from one generation to the next and the effects are permanent.
  • Dominance Variation – It is difficult to control the dominance variation in practice. Although it does not seem that difficult in theory. In this one allele just covers up the other.
  • Epistatic Variation – In this there are more locus and the combined effect of the genes is measured. It has a complex nature of controlling and identifying the genes.


Breeding system

There are basically two methods which are used for breeding and that are listed below.


  • Outbreeding – The breeding is done between unrelated animals as female and male are called as outbreeding. These are of two types such as –
  • Grading up – In this mating of two different breeds of animals of a genetic group also called indigenous breed is done with an improved pure breed. This is done for many generations to gain an improved breed of superior traits.
  • Cross breeding – when mating of animals is done and the breeds are different then it is called cross breeding.
  • Inbreeding – When breeding is done between related animals such as male (sire) and female (dam) is known as inbreeding. The animals which are inbred, their capacity lowers down the reproduction. It may also have some disorders. Inbreeding again have two types such as –
  • Line breeding – The animals whose ancestors can be traced and it is common then those animals are listed under line breeding. These types of animals are distantly related. Genetic purity also increases of the progeny generation.
  • Cross breeding – In this type, the animals have more than one ancestor in common. This is a very complex type of breeding.


Objectives of Breeding


  • Market place demands – ThePetPractice have noted that it is not easy to identify what all is needed by the customers after several years. The breeder does the needful as the demands for a certain product increase.
  • Genetic correlations – Some complexities do arise while we try to improve the traits. The correlation is either positive or negative. Hence breeding methods depend on genetic correlations for traits which are desirable and heritability as well.


Methods of selection

    • Mass selection or Individual selection – This type of selection uses only the records of the candidates that are chosen for selection. When the traits appear early in life and heritability is high then the mass selection is considered to be the most effective. When these methods become ineffective then only other methods are used.


  • Sibling selection
  • Within and between family selection – This type of selection includes the whole of the family for selection.
  • Progeny testing



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