Consequences for diversity when prioritizing animals for conservation with pedigree or genomic information

J Anim Breed Genet. 2011 Dec;128(6):473-81. doi: 10.1111/j.1439-0388.2011.00936.x. Epub 2011 May 25.


Up to now, prioritization of animals for conservation has been mainly based on pedigree information; however, genomic information may improve prioritization. In this study, we used two Holstein populations to investigate the consequences for genetic diversity when animals are prioritized with optimal contributions based on pedigree or genomic data and whether consequences are different at the chromosomal level. Selection with genomic kinships resulted in a higher conserved diversity, but differences were small. Largest differences were found when few animals were prioritized and when pedigree errors were present. We found more differences at the chromosomal level, where selection based on genomic kinships resulted in a higher conserved diversity for most chromosomes, but for some chromosomes, pedigree-based selection resulted in a higher conserved diversity. To optimize conservation strategies, genomic information can help to improve the selection of animals for conservation in those situations where pedigree information is unreliable or absent or when we want to conserve diversity at specific genome regions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Breeding / methods*
  • Cattle
  • Chromosomes, Mammalian / genetics
  • Conservation of Natural Resources / methods*
  • Female
  • Genetic Variation / genetics*
  • Genomics*
  • Male
  • Pedigree*