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Revista Brasileira de Zootecnia

Print version ISSN 1516-3598On-line version ISSN 1806-9290


MARIANTE, Arthur da Silva et al. Managing genetic diversity and society needs. R. Bras. Zootec. [online]. 2008, vol.37, n.spe, pp.127-136. ISSN 1806-9290.

Most livestock are not indigenous to Brazil. Several animal species were considered domesticated in the pre-colonial period, since the indigenous people manage them as would be typical of European livestock production. For over 500 years there have been periodic introductions resulting in the wide range of genetic diversity that for centuries supported domestic animal production in the country. Even though these naturalized breeds have acquired adaptive traits after centuries of natural selection, they have been gradually replaced by exotic breeds, to such an extent, that today they are in danger of extinction To avoid further loss of this important genetic material, in 1983 Embrapa Genetic Resources and Biotechnology decided to include conservation of animal genetic resources among its priorities. In this paper we describe the effort to genetically characterize these populations, as a tool to ensure their genetic variability. To effectively save the threatened local breeds of livestock it is important to find a niche market for each one, reinserting them in production systems. They have to be utilized in order to be conserved. And there is no doubt that due to their adaptive traits, the Brazilian local breeds of livestock can play an important role in animal production, to meet society needs.

Keywords : Animal genetic resources; Brazilian conservation program; genetic variability; microsatellites.

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