European Regional Focal Point for Animal Genetic Resources

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

Glossary of terms

Farm Animal Genetic Resources (AnGR): those animal species that are used, or may be used, for the production of food and agriculture, and the populations within each of them. These populations within each species can be classified as wild and feral populations, landraces and primary populations, standardized breeds, selected lines, varieties, strains and any conserved genetic material; all of which are currently categorized as Breeds.

  • Breed: either a sub-specific group of domestic livestock with definable and identifiable external characteristics that enable it to be separated by visual appraisal from other similarly defined groups within the same species, or a group for which geographical and/or cultural separation from phenotypically similar groups has led to acceptance of its separate identity.
  • Locally Adapted Breeds:which have been in the country for a sufficient time to be genetically adapted to one or more of traditional production systems or environments in the country. Indigenous Breeds, also termed autochthonous or native breeds and originating from, adapted to and utilized in a particular geographical region, form a sub-set of the Locally Adapted Breeds.
  • Recently Introduced Breeds:whose importation was within the last 5 or so generations for the species concerned, and which were imported over a relatively short period of time. These would include breeds that were imported in the recent past but that have not been reintroduced since that time; and
  • Continually Imported Breeds:whose local gene pool is regularly replenished from one or more sources outside your country. Many of the breeds used in intensive production systems or marketed by international breeding companies would be in this category.
  • Exotic Breeds: which are maintained in a different area from the one they were developed and including breeds that are not locally adapted. Exotic breeds comprise both Recently Introduced Breedsand Continually Imported Breeds.
  • Breed at Risk: any breed that may become extinct if the factors causing its decline in numbers are not eliminated or mitigated. Breeds may be in danger of becoming extinct for a variety of reasons. Risk of extinction may result from, inter alia, low population size; direct and indirect impacts of policy at the farm, country or international levels; lack of proper breed organization; lack of adaptation to market demands or perceived as of lower performance. Breeds are categorised as to their risk status on the basis of, inter alia, the actual numbers of male and/or female breeding individuals and the percentage of pure-bred females.
  • Extinct Breed: when it is no longer possible to recreate the breed population. This situation becomes absolute when there are no breeding males or breeding females remaining. In reality extinction may be realized well before the loss of the last animal, gamete or embryo.
  • Population: a generic term but when used in a genetic sense it defines an interbreeding group, and may refer to all the animals within a breed. The genetics of the population is concerned with the genetic of all individuals it comprises, and with the transmission from generation to generation of samples of the genetic variability associated with this population.
  • Indigenous Species: which belongs to an area where it has evolved; also called native species.
  • National Co-ordinator (NC): the government-identified technical contact person for country development of the Global Strategy for the Management of Farm AnGR. He or she is responsible for assisting with the development of an effective country network and within-country co-ordination of activities concerning the management of AnGR. The NC should be a member of or closely associated with the National Focal point.
  • National Focal Point Institution: the government identified national institution that is responsible for implementing and maintaining an in-country network for country development of the Global Strategy for the Management of Farm AnGR.