Acta Vet. Brno 2014, 83: 327-340

Recent developments in cattle, pig, sheep and horse breeding - a review

Alena Svitáková1,2, Jitka Schmidová1,2, Petr Pešek2, Alexandra Novotná2

1Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, Prague - Suchdol, Czech Republic
2Institute of Animal Science, Prague - Uhříněves, Czech Republic

The aim of this review was to summarize new genetic approaches and techniques in the breeding of cattle, pigs, sheep and horses. Often production and reproductive traits are treated separately in genetic evaluations, but advantages may accrue to their joint evaluation. A good example is the system in pig breeding. Simplified breeding objectives are generally no longer appropriate and consequently becoming increasingly complex. The goal of selection for improved animal performance is to increase the profit of the production system; therefore, economic selection indices are now used in most livestock breeding programmes. Recent developments in dairy cattle breeding have focused on the incorporation of molecular information into genetic evaluations and on increasing the importance of longevity and health in breeding objectives to maximize the change in profit. For a genetic evaluation of meat yield (beef, pig, sheep), several types of information can be used, including data from performance test stations, records from progeny tests and measurements taken at slaughter. The standard genetic evaluation method of evaluation of growth or milk production has been the multi-trait animal model, but a test-day model with random regression is becoming the new standard, in sheep as well. Reviews of molecular genetics and pedigree analyses for performance traits in horses are described. Genome – wide selection is becoming a world standard for dairy cattle, and for other farm animals it is under development.


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