farm animal breeds viz. 30 cattle, 10 buffaloes, 42 sheep, 20 goats, 7 camel, 5 horses/ponies and18 chickens, besides many other non-descript and mixed populations. Livestock husbandry is anage-old important occupation for Indian farmers. The unique and rich animal biodiversity isextensively referred to in Indian scriptures.
JUSTIFICATION FOR CONSERVATION OR REASON?
Different reasons for conservation of animal genetic resources include (Rao and Reddy, 1995):1.
Economic and biological reasons:
A. Genetic variation both within and between breeds is the raw material with which the animalbreeder works. Therefore, any loss of genetic variation will limit our capacity to respond tochanges in economic forces for the exploitation of animal production in future.B. Breeds with specific qualities like disease resistance, heat tolerance, ability to survive andproduce under stress and low input conditions need to be preserved for future use.C. Future requirements of type and quality of animal produce (milk, draught power) may changeand this requires conservation of animals with better performance in specific production traits.D. Magnitude of heterosis depends upon the breeds crossed. For exploiting the heterosis in animalproduction, it is necessary to maintain breeds which are complementary to each other and oncrossing result in maximum heterosis.2.
i. Breeds with unique physiological or other traits are of great value as they provide missing linksin the genetic history of a livestock species by the study of blood groups or polymorphic traits. Toidentify the DNA sequences causing the distinctive traits, preservation of breeds with unique traitswill be essential for long term research in molecular engineering.ii To evaluate the magnitude of genetic change due to selection, maintenance of a sample ascontrol population is very much essential.iii Investigations in different areas like physiology, biochemistry, genetics immunology, etc.Require maintenance of diverse populations.iv Variety of populations are an asset for research work in biological evolution, behaviouralstudies, etc.v Diverse populations form an excellent teaching material for students of animal science, ecology,etc.3.
Historical and cultural reasons
Conservation of historically important, culturally interesting and visually unusual and attractivepopulation is very important for education, tourism etc. Further, conservation of breedsa. Can be a valuable material of nature and culture,b. Serve as research and teaching material in history and ethnography,