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Conservation of Genetic Resources in India

Conservation of Genetic Resources in India

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Published by Ramachandran Ram

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Published by: Ramachandran Ram on Aug 24, 2011
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CONSERVATION OF GENETIC RESOURCES IN INDIAIntroduction
India has vast animal genetic resources with a wide variety of indigenous farm animalsincluding cattle. The cattle breeds have evolved over generations to adapt to the agro-climatic andsocio-economic needs of the people.Domestic animal diversity is defined as the spectrum of genetic differences within each breed and across all breeds within each domestic animal species,together with the species differences; all of which are available for the sustainable intensificationof food and agriculture production . The domestic animal diversity has evolved over millions of years through the processes of natural selection forming and stabilizing each of the species used infood and agriculture. Over the more recent millennia the interaction between environmental andhuman selection has led to the development of genetically distinct breeds. Selection processes,directed by both humans and the environment, together with the random sampling processescausing genetic populations to drift over generations, have accelerated the development of thediversity within species leading to the creation of distinct genetic differences amongst breeds.
GENETIC DIVERSITY IN AnGR IN INDIA
 India is the seventh largest country in the world and it is recognized as one of the 12-megabiodiversity centres of the world. It is well marked off from the rest of Asia by mountains and thesea, which gives the country a distinct geographical entity. Due to diverse agro-ecological regionsand topographic conditions, India has rich repository of both flora and fauna. India has vastanimal genetic resources with a wide variety of indigenous farm animals. It has 132 registered
Species
 
As per World Watch List
 
As per Indian literature
 
Cattle
 
70
 
30
 
Buffalo
 
20
 
10
 
Yak
 
5
 
Nil
 
Sheep
 
62
 
42
 
Goat
 
34
 
20
 
Horse
 
7
 
6
 
Donkey
 
3
 
Nil
 
Camel
 
9 (+1 Bactrian)
 
8
 
Pig
 
8
 
Nil
 
Rabbit
 
3
 
Nil
 
Fowl
 
19
 
15
 
Quail
 
2
 
Nil
 
Duck
 
6
 
Nil
 
 
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.
Scientific reasons:
 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,
 
c. Will be preservation of populations with diverse sizes, colours and other morphologicalfeatures, for aesthetic reasons, andd. Need be done to take care of existence of different creations of the nature for posterity.
STATUS OF SPECIES -FEMALE POPULATION (Tomar et al)MECHANISM OF CONSERVING CATTLE GENETIC RESOURCES
Once genetic resources have been identified and characterized, two basic conservation activitiescan be followed,
1.
 
IN SITU CONSERVATION2.
 
EX-SITU CONSERVATIONIN SITU CONSERVATION1.haploid forms
a.
 
frozen semenb. frozen eggs/oocyte
2.diploid forms
a
.
frozen embyob. live animalIn situ conservation requires establishment of live animal breeding farms and their maintenance.The generation and loss of alleles is a dynamic process that should be maintained at closeequilibrium through sound management. In situ conservation strategies emphasize wise use of indigenous cattle genetic resources by establishing and implementing breeding goals andstrategies for animal sustainable production systems. Information for animal recording andbreeding is well established in developed countries through breeding associations which zealouslyprotect the interest of breeds including rare ones. Infrastructure appropriate to systems in
s,.no
 
Status
 
Number
 1 Normal >10,0002 Insecure 10,000-5,0003 Vulnerable 1,000-5,0004 Endangered 100-1,0005 Critical < 100

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