Africa / Biodiversity / East Africa / Ethiopia / ILRI / Indigenous Breeds / Livestock / Report / Research / Sheep / Small Ruminants

Characterization and conservation of indigenous sheep genetic resources

A research report by Solomon Gizaw, H. Komen, O. Hanotte, J.A.M. van Arendonk, Steve Kemp, Aynalem Haile, O. Mwai and Tadelle Dessie on Characterization and conservation of indigenous sheep genetic resources: A practical framework for developing countries was released on 12 April 2011.

Livestock characterization projects in developing regions are characterized by a mere physical description of traditionally recognized populations or a purely academic genetic description of populations. However, characterization of livestock resources is meant to serve the purpose of developing conservation and utilization programs. A national characterization project should be geared to the specific national livestock production objectives. Thus there is a need to adopt a more practical characterization approach to assist in the development of national conservation and utilization strategies.

This report provides a practical methodological framework for the characterization and conservation of sheep resources in developing regions.

The report highlights current approaches and tools for characterization and conservation of sheep resources and presents a model approach that synthesises the results of a study on characterization and conservation of sheep resources in Ethiopia. The methodological framework can be applied elsewhere in developing countries with similar characterization and conservation objectives.

The report largely focuses on the technical aspects of sheep genetic resource characterization and conservation in developing regions. Operational aspects of setting up national programs for characterization and conservation action may be country specific. However, some general aspects such as institutional setups and breeding policy and strategy formulation could be similar across countries. A proposed scheme for setting up a national livestock characterization and conservation program is presented, taking Ethiopia as a case study.

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