Sustainable Food Production

2013 Edition
| Editors: Paul Christou, Roxana Savin, Barry A. Costa-Pierce, Ignacy Misztal, C. Bruce A. Whitelaw

Animal Breeding and Genetics, Introduction

  • Ignacy Misztal
Reference work entry

Informal animal breeding started thousands of years ago when hunter-gatherers started domesticating animals. Out of thousands of species available only few were domesticated as the requirements for domestication were numerous: plant diet, fast growth rate, ability to breed in captivity, good disposition, little tendency to panic, and ability to function well in groups [1]. An ancient farmer/herder took special care of well-behaving animals that provided good growth, or plenty of milk, or reliable draft, or lots of wool, etc., while eliminating the troublesome ones. The domestication greatly increased the nutritional output per unit of land although it also brought new problems, e.g., new diseases and wars. These problems were smaller than the benefits of the domestication as hunter-gatherers mostly disappeared. Some of the benefits could be due to a positive effect of animal products on IQ [2].

The natural selection maximizes survival under the natural conditions. Under domestication,...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Animal and Dairy Science Breeding and GeneticsUniversity of GeorgiaAthensUSA