Adaptation and Fitness in Animal Populations

Evolutionary and Breeding Perspectives on Genetic Resource Management

  • Julius van der Werf
  • Hans-Ulrich Graser
  • Richard Frankham
  • Cedric Gondro

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages I-XII
  2. Modelling Fitness

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. James S.F. (Stuart) Barker
      Pages 3-14
    3. Michael Goddard
      Pages 41-52
    4. John W. James
      Pages 53-55
  3. Maintaining Fitness

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 57-57
    2. William G. Hill, Xu-Sheng Zhang
      Pages 59-81
    3. Michael Goddard
      Pages 125-127
  4. The Genetic Basis of Adaptation

  5. Strategies for Managing Diversity

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 189-189
    2. Brian P. Kinghorn, Robert Banks, Cedric Gondro, Valentin D. Kremer, Susan A. Meszaros, Scott Newman et al.
      Pages 191-200
    3. Frank W. Nicholas
      Pages 233-234
    4. Julius van der Werf, Hans-Ulrich Graser, Richard Frankham, Cedric Gondro
      Pages 235-236
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 257-258

About this book


Fitness and adaptation are fundamental characteristics of plant and animal species, enabling them to survive in their environment and to adapt to the inevitable changes in this environment. This is true for both the genetic resources of natural ecosystems as well as those used in agricultural production.

Extensive genetic variation exists between varieties/breeds in a species and amongst individuals within breeds. This variation has developed over very long periods of time. A major ongoing challenge is how to best utilize this variation to meet short-term demands whilst also conserving it for longer-term possible use.

Many animal breeding programs have led to increased performance for production traits but this has often been accompanied by reduced fitness. In addition, the global use of genetic resources prompts the question whether introduced genotypes are adapted to local production systems. Understanding the genetic nature of fitness and adaptation will enable us to better manage genetic resources allowing us to make efficient and sustainable decisions for the improvement or breeding of these resources.

This book had an ambitious goal in bringing together a sample of the world’s leading scientists in animal breeding and evolutionary genetics to exchange knowledge to advance our understanding of these vital issues.


Adaptation Animal Breeding Animal breeding programs ecosystem environment evolution genetics

Editors and affiliations

  • Julius van der Werf
    • 1
  • Hans-Ulrich Graser
    • 2
  • Richard Frankham
    • 3
    • 4
  • Cedric Gondro
    • 5
  1. 1.School of Environmental and Rural ScienceUniversity of New EnglandArmidale 2351Australia
  2. 2.Animal Genetics and Breeding UnitUniversity of New EnglandArmidaleAustralia
  3. 3.Department of Biological SciencesMacquarie UniversitySydney 2109Australia
  4. 4.Australian MuseumSydney 2010Australia
  5. 5.The Institute for Genetics and BioinformaticsUniversity of New EnglandArmidale 2351Australia

Bibliographic information