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Genetic Improvement of Livestock for Organic Farming Systems

Boelling, D.; Groen, A.F.; Sørensen, P.; Madsen, P. and Jensen, J. (2003) Genetic Improvement of Livestock for Organic Farming Systems. Livestock Production Science, 80 (1), pp. 79-88.

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Organic farming which experienced a constant rise over the last two decades is a system based on sustainability and on a concept tending towards functional integrity. Legislation as well as the wish to produce separately from conventional farming raise the question whether organic farming should be conducted completely apart from conventional farming or not. This paper discusses the aspects that affect animal breeding under these circumstances, e.g., maintaining genetic diversity by using local breeds and possible G×E interactions which might occur when breeds adapted to conventional farming systems are used in organic farming. Ways of modelling G×E are presented, moreover examples of G×E in dairy cattle, swine, and poultry are given. Trends in selection index theory–designing multi-trait breeding goals including functional traits on one hand, and developing methods for using customised selection indices on the other hand–support breeding work for organic farming systems. It is concluded that before the technical issues can be addressed, all parties involved, farmers, consumers as well as legislators, have to agree on the socio-cultural conditions under which organic farming should be conducted.

EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:Organic farming, G*E interaction, reaction norm curves, selection indices, dairy cattle, laying hens
Subjects: Animal husbandry > Breeding and genetics
Research affiliation: Denmark > DARCOF II (2000-2005) > II. 1 (ORDAI) Organic dairy production systems
Denmark > DARCOF II (2000-2005) > II. 6 (PPS-HW) Research in poultry production systems
Deposited By: Kristensen, Troels
ID Code:1343
Deposited On:24 Sep 2003
Last Modified:03 Dec 2013 15:26
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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