Animal Agriculture

Sheep and goats comprise some 1,155 and 576 breeds respectively. Traditionally, genetic breeding in small ruminants for efficient meat, milk and fiber production involved introgression of new breeds and strains, within-breed selection and crossbreeding. Sequencing of the ovine and goat genomes, and the development of high-throughput SNP arrays have revolutionized animal breeding work. However, our current knowledge on causative mutations that affect reproduction, production and health traits in sheep and goats remain limited. New constraints are posing challenges for breeders of small ruminants including climate change, increased awareness of the environment and of animal welfare and increasing consumer demand for high-quality meat and milk products. Modern breeding tools such as cloning, transgenesis, gene-editing and microbiome genotyping may expand the genetic variation in each species, leading to breeding for new traits and new products.

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Chapter 10 - Genetics and breeding of sheep and goats
Chapter 10 - Genetics and breeding of sheep and goats

Sheep and goats comprise some 1,155 and 576 breeds respectively. Traditionally, genetic breeding in small ruminants for efficient meat, milk and fiber production involved introgression of new breeds and strains, within-breed selection and crossbreeding. Sequencing of the ovine and goat genomes, and the development of high-throughput SNP arrays have revolutionized animal breeding work. However, our current knowledge on causative mutations that affect reproduction, production and health traits in sheep and goats remain limited. New constraints are posing challenges for breeders of small ruminants including climate change, increased awareness of the environment and of animal welfare and increasing consumer demand for high-quality meat and milk products. Modern breeding tools such as cloning, transgenesis, gene-editing and microbiome genotyping may expand the genetic variation in each species, leading to breeding for new traits and new products.

Scientific Publication