The need for conserving farm animal genetic resources was discussed in a Special Round Table Session of the First World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production held here in Madrid six years ago (Mason, 1974) . Since then, the interest in this particular subject has shown a steady increase. In the period 1974-80, FAO and UNEP arranged a number of surveys, studies and meetings on animal genetic resources in different regions of the world which culminated in 1980 with a technical consultation in Rome on animal genetic resources conservation and management (FAO, 1980, 1981). Regional agricultural or animal husbandry organizations in Africa (IBAR of OAU), Europe (EAAP), Asia and Oceania (SABRAO) and Latin America (ALPA) also set up committees and undertook several studies on the subject. Special attention was given, in particular at the FAO/UNEP consultation, to a detailed discussion of why animal genetic resources needed to be better managed and how this could be undertaken. The term "management of genetic resources" will be used here to refer to breeding activities which would retain genetic variability within the overall resource at the same time as this resouce is subject to genetic improvement. The term "conservation", however, is taken to imply direct action for maintaining populations and genes which are threatened by extinction.
Proceedings of the World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production, Volume 6. Round tables, , 123-128, 1982
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