Impact of genetic drift on access and benefit sharing under the nagoya protocol: The case of the meishan pig

H. D. Blackburn, Y. Plante, G. Rohrer, E. W. Welch, S. R. Paiva

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Genetic drift (GD) randomly impacts small breeds and imported populations. Therefore, it can impact policies that affect conservation of animal genetic resources. This paper evaluates GD for a population of Meishan pigs imported into the United States and explores the ramifications of GD on access and benefit sharing of genetic resources under the Nagoya Protocol (NP) of the United Nations' Convention on Biological Diversity. The NP was motivated by concerns about fair and equitable benefit sharing of genetic resources across life forms. In this experiment, 35 microsatellite markers were used to quantify the level of GD that occurred between Meishan pigs (Meishan China; n = 22) imported into the United States in the late 1980s and contemporary Meishan (Meishan-US; n = 42), which have been randomly bred since importation. The Meishan-US consisted of 2 subpopulations (Meishan-MARC and Meishan-ISU). Five other breeds were also included in the analysis to serve as reference populations: Fengjing and Minzhu, which were imported with Meishan-China, and Duroc, Berkshire, and Yorkshire from the United States. Mean shift in allele frequency was 0.11 (SE = 0.019) due to GD for Meishan-US vs. Meishan-China with some loci having changed allele frequencies by greater than 0.20. Principle coordinate analysis confirmed divergence among the Meishan populations. Model-based clustering tended to place the U.S. and Chinese breeds into 2 distinct clusters, likely due to differences in allele frequencies between U.S. and Chinese breeds. Contemporary Meishan-US has become differentiated from the original imported animals due to GD. Attributing future performance of Meishan-US to Meishan-China, as set forth by NP, is problematic due to GD. As an imported breed becomes established there will be an increasing number of breeders who may have different selection goals and private treaty contracts will govern the exchange of stock between them. Therefore, considering biological phenomena and social dynamics simultaneously draws into question whether a rigorous access and benefit sharing protocol as envisioned in the NP will be operational.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1405-1411
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of animal science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Genetic diversity
  • Genetic drift
  • Meishan
  • Nagoya protocol
  • Sus scrofa

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


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