Farm animals have on the whole been improved by the simple method of mating the best to the best.  We do not understand at all clearly in some cases hardly at all - the resulting changes in the animal prysiciological and biochemical make-up.  We have only the vaguest ideas why the Aberdeen Angus puts its food into muscle and fat and the Friesian into milk, very often at the expense of body tissue.  The scientists contribution has been on the one hand to clarify what constitutes "best" and, approaching the problem at a statistical level, to the indicate how the avialble information should be combined to make the correct decisions.  It is assumed that many genes are involved which can be maniuplated individually only in rather special cases and that genetic improvement is a gradual accumulation of small effects.

A. Robertson

Proceedings of the World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production, Volume 6. Round tables, , 139–145, 1982
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