European Regional Focal Point for Animal Genetic Resources

Regional platform for the support of management, conservation and sustainable use of animal genetic resources

Conservation and sustainable use

Conservation of Farm Animal Genetic Resources: refers to all human activities including strategies, plans, policies and actions undertaken to ensure that the diversity of farm animal genetic resources is being maintained to contribute to food and agricultural production and productivity, now and in the future.

  • In situ Conservation of Farm Animal Genetic Diversity: all measures to maintain live animal breeding populations, including those involved in active breeding programmes in the agro-ecosystem where they either developed or are now normally found, together with husbandry activities that are undertaken to ensure the continued contribution of these resources to sustainable food and agricultural production, now and in the future.
  • Ex situ Conservation of Farm Animal Genetic Diversity: conservation of genetic material within living animals but out of the environment in which it developed (Ex situ in vivo), or external to the living animal in an artificial environment, usually under cryogenic conditions including, inter alia, the cryo-conservation of semen, oocytes, embryos, cells or tissues (Ex situ in vitro). Note that ex situ conservation and ex situ preservation are considered here to be synonymous.
  • Genebank: the physical location for conservation of collections of well identified genetic material in the form of live animals, in situ or ex situ (as conservation herds or flocks), or ex situ stored semen, oocytes, embryos, cells or tissues. Also referred to as Genomebank.
  • Gene pool: the total genetic information in all the genes in a breeding population at a given time

Utilization of Farm Animal Genetic Resources: the use and development of animal genetic resources for the production of food and agriculture. The use in production systems of AnGRs that already possess high levels of adaptive fitness to the environment concerned, and the deployment of sound genetic principles, will facilitate sustainable development of the AnGRs and the sustainable intensification of the production systems themselves. The wise use of AnGRs is possible without depleting domestic animal diversity. Development of AnGRs includes a broad mix of ongoing activities that must be well planned and executed for success, and compounded over time, hence with high value. It requires careful definition of breeding objectives, and the planning, establishment and maintenance of effective and efficient animal recording and breeding strategies