Trajectories of Evolution and Extinction in the Swedish Cattle Breeds
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An assessment of the current status and possible future dynamics of the domestic animal species is a critical step in the management of Animal Genetic Resources (AnGR). Permanent extinction of livestock breeds is considered to be the main reason for the loss of genetic diversity (Scherf, 2000). So far, the pace of the extinction process of livestock breeds has outstripped the creation of new breeds leading to a remarkable loss of genetic diversity (Gandini et al., 2004). The FAO’s Global Databank for AnGR predicts the loss of breeds at one breed per month (DAD-IS web). In this paper, the terms evolution and extinction are defined and illustrated using examples from the Swedish cattle breeds. Thereafter, the dynamics of the Swedish cattle breeds mentioned in DAD-IS and the status given as regards their endangerment/extinction are described. In addition, an analysis on the actual situation was conducted, to verify whether the breed is really endangered, extinct or has just evolved in one way or another for sustainable use.