The potential application of systems analysis to animal breeding program design is reviewed and discussed. The quantitative nature of animal breeding facilitates computer modeling. Since breeding program design involves the integration of several sub-systems, modeling seems a practical alternative and complement to experimentation to address the complex questions and potential interactions involved. The relative merits of computer modeling and laboratory animal modeling are discussed with value seen for both. Some areas suggested as being worthy of such approaches are 1) definition of bio-economic objective, 2) interactions between genetic characteristics and management, 3) costs versus returns for complex selection schemes, 4) interactions between crossbreeding and selection response, 5) interactions between selection and expansion, 6) implications of enhanced reproduction. Examples of computer simulation studies and potential laboratory animal studies to address some of these questions and problems are presented. Considerable synergism is seen for experimentation in animal species of agricultural importance, computer simulation, and laboratory animal modeling, with interplay between them, for numerous questions of animal breeding program design.

D. L Harris, T. S Stewart

Proceedings of the World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production, Volume XII. Biotechnology, selection experiments, parameter estimation, design of breeding systems, management of genetic resources., , 257–268, 1986
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