In the tropics, ruminant species rarely are kept for a single purpose; they are used for meat, milk, draft, fibre and, sometimes, for the production of dung as a fertiliser. Because of small herd sizes and complex objectives, and the requirement for tolerance to stresses not found in temperate zones, the development of breeding programs is a difficult task. However, high population growth rates and economic pressures for increased self-sufficiency demands greater production efficiency from ruminants in the tropics. Numerous arguments have been used against animal breeding options but there seems to be no a priori reason why genetic progress is not possible. An increased effort in understanding the biological interactions between production and adaptation so that a set of criteria can be established. This is especially true if breeding programs are to be established for small holders.

I. R Franklin

Proceedings of the World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production, Volume XI. Genetics of reproduction, lactation, growth, adaptation, disease, and parasite resistance., , 451–461, 1986
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