Genetic Conservation in Feral Populations of Livestock


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12 Scopus citations


Feral livestock may be sources of genetic variation with potential commercial, scientific historical, or aesthetic value. Important variants may include primitive traits absent in modern breeds and novel or rare adaptations; the presence of these variants may be suggested directly by morphological markers, quantitative traits, fitness characters, or rare or unique alleles, and indirectly by the extent and duration of isolation, founder number, ancestry, or environmental conditions. Both direct and indirect evidence indicated potentially valuable traits in a population of feral sheep on Santa Cruz Island California and recently 18 lambs were captured to found a mainland population. We discuss several genetic goals important in maintaining a feral population, but caution that such goals must not conflict with the preservation of natural diversity threatened by feral livestock.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)312-317
Number of pages6
JournalConservation Biology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1989
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


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