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Animal breedingculling animals with particular traits and selecting for further breeding those with other traits. Purebred animals have a single, recognizable breed, and purebreds with recorded lineage are called pedigreed. Crossbreeds are a mix of two purebreds, whereas mixed breeds are a mix of several breeds, often unknown. Animal breeding begins with breeding stock, a group of animals used for the purpose of planned breeding. When individuals are looking to breed animals, they look for certain valuable traits in purebred stock for a certain purpose, or may intend to use some type of crossbreeding to produce a new type of stock with different, and, it is presumed, superior abilities in a given area of endeavor. For example, to breed chickens, a breeder typically intends to receive eggs, meat, and new, young birds for further reproduction. Thus, the breeder has to study different breeds and types of chickens and analyze what can be expected from a certain set of characteristics before he or she starts breeding them. Therefore, when purchasing initial breeding stock, the breeder seeks a group of birds that will most closely fit the purpose intended.

Purebred breeding aims to establish and maintain stable traits, that animals will pass to the next generation. By "breeding the best to the best," employing a certain degree of inbreeding, considerable culling, and selection for "superior" qualities, one could develop a bloodline superior in certain respects to the original base stock. Such animals can be recorded with a breed registry, the organization that maintains pedigrees and/or inbreeding, considerable culling, and selection for "superior" qualities, one could develop a bloodline superior in certain respects to the original base stock. Such animals can be recorded with a breed registry, the organization that maintains pedigrees and/or stud books. However, single-trait breeding, breeding for only one trait over all others, can be problematic.[11] In one case mentioned by animal behaviorist Temple Grandin, roosters bred for fast growth or heavy muscles did not know how to perform typical rooster courtship dances, which alienated the roosters from hens and led the roosters to kill the hens after mating with them.[11] A Soviet attempt to breed lab rats with higher intelligence led to cases of neurosis severe enough to make the animals incapable of any problem solving unless drugs like phenazepam were used.[12]

The observable phenomenon of hybrid vigor stands in contrast to the notion of breed purity. However, on the other hand, indiscriminate breeding of crossbred or hybrid animals may also result in degradation of quality. Studies in evolutionary physiology, behavioral genetics, and other areas of organismal biology have also made use of deliberate selective breeding, though longer generation times and greater difficulty in breeding can make these projects challenging in such vertebrates as house mice.[13][14][15]

Plant breeding has been used for thousands of years, and began with the domestication of wild plants into uniform and predictable agricultural cultigens. High-yielding varieties have been particularly important in agriculture.

Selective plant breeding is also used in research to produce transgenic animals that breed "true" (i.e., are homozygous) for artificially inserted or deleted genes.[16]

Selective breeding in aquaculture

Selective breeding in aquaculture holds high potential for the genetic improvement of fish and shellfish. Unlike terrestrial livestock, the potential benefits of selective breeding in aquaculture were not realized until recently. This is because high mortality led to the selection of only a few broodstock, causing inbreeding depression, which then forced the use of wild broodstock. This was evident in selective breeding programs for growth rate, which resulted in slow growth and high mortality.Selective plant breeding is also used in research to produce transgenic animals that breed "true" (i.e., are homozygous) for artificially inserted or deleted genes.[16]

Selective breeding in aquaculture holds high potential for the genetic improvement of fish and shellfish. Unlike terrestrial livestock, the potential benefits of selective breeding in aquaculture were not realized until recently. This is because high mortality led to the selection of only a few broodstock, causing inbreeding depression, which then forced the use of wild broodstock. This was evident in selective breeding programs for growth rate, which resulted in slow growth and high mortality.[17]

Control of the reproduction cycle was one of the main reasons as it is a requisite for selective breeding programs. Artificial reproduction was not achieved because of the difficulties in hatching or feeding some farmed species such as eel and yellowtail farming.[18] A suspected reason as

Control of the reproduction cycle was one of the main reasons as it is a requisite for selective breeding programs. Artificial reproduction was not achieved because of the difficulties in hatching or feeding some farmed species such as eel and yellowtail farming.[18] A suspected reason associated with the late realisation of success in selective breeding programs in aquaculture was the education of the concerned people – researchers, advisory personnel and fish farmers. The education of fish biologists paid less attention to quantitative genetics and breeding plans.[19]

Another was the failure of documentation of the genetic gains in successive generations. This in turn led to failure in quantifying economic benefits that successful selective breeding programs produce. Documentation of the genetic changes was considered important as they help in fine tuning further selection schemes.[17]

Aquaculture species are reared for particular traits such as growth rate, survival rate, meat quality, resistance to diseases, age at sexual maturation, fecundity, shell traits like shell size, shell colour, etc.

  • Growth rate – growth rate is normally measured as either body weight or body length. This trait is of great economic importance for all aquaculture species as faster growth rate speeds up the turnover of production.[19] Improved growth rates show that farmed ani

    Gjedrem (1979) showed that selection of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) led to an increase in body weight by 30% per generation. A comparative study on the performance of select Atlantic salmon with wild fish was conducted by AKVAFORSK Genetics Centre in Norway. The traits, for which the selection was done included growth rate, feed consumption, protein retention, energy retention, and feed conversion efficiency. Selected fish had a twice better growth rate, a 40% higher feed intake, and an increased protein and energy retention. This led to an overall 20% better Fed Conversion Efficiency as compared to the wild stock.[21] Atlantic salmon have also been selected for resistance to bacterial and viral diseases. Selection was done to check resistance to Infectious Pancreatic Necrosis Virus (IPNV). The results showed 66.6% mortality for low-resistant species whereas the high-resistant species showed 29.3% mortality compared to wild species.[22]

    Rainbow trout (S. gairdneri) was reported to show large improvements in growth rate after 7–10 generations of selection.[23] Kincaid et al. (1977) showed that growth gains by 30% could be achieved by selectively breeding rainbow trout for three generations.[24] A 7% increase in growth was recorded per generation for rainbow trout by Kause et al. (2005).[25]

    In Japan, high resistance to IPNV in rainbow trout has been achieved by selectively breeding the stock. Resistant strains were found to have an average mortality of 4.3% whereas 96.1% mortality was observed in a highly sensitive strain.[26]

    Coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) increase in weight was found to be more than 60% after four generations of selective breeding.[27] In Chile, Neira et al. (2006) conducted experiments on early spawning dates in coho salmon. After selectively breeding the fish for four generations, spawning dates were 13–15 days earlier.[28]

    Cyprinids

    Selective breeding programs for the Common carp (Cyprinus carpio) include improvement in growth, shape and resistance to disease. Experiments carried out in the USSR used crossings of broodstocks to increase genetic diversity and then selected the species for traits like growth rate, exterior traits and viability, and/or adaptation to environmental conditions like variations in temperature. Kirpichnikov et al. (1974)[29] and Babouchkine (1987)[30] selected carp for fast growth and tolerance to cold, the Ropsha carp. The results showed a 30–40% to 77.4% improvement of cold tolerance but did not provide any data for growth rate. An increase in growth rate was observed in the second generation in Vietnam.[31] Moav and Wohlfarth (1976) showed positive results when selecting for slower growth for three generations compared to selecting for faster growth. Schaperclaus (1962) showed resistance to the dropsy disease wherein selected lines suffered low mortality (11.5%) compared to unselected (57%).[23] Kincaid et al. (1977) showed that growth gains by 30% could be achieved by selectively breeding rainbow trout for three generations.[24] A 7% increase in growth was recorded per generation for rainbow trout by Kause et al. (2005).[25]

    In Japan, high resistance to IPNV in rainbow trout has been achieved by selectively breeding the stock. Resistant strains were found to have an average mortality of 4.3% whereas 96.1% mortality was observed in a highly sensitive strain.[26]

    Coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) increase in weight was found to be more than 60% after four generations of selective breeding.[27] In Chile, Neira et al. (2006) conducted experiments on early spawning dates in coho salmon. After selectively breeding the fish for four generations, spawning dates were 13–15 days earlier.[28]

    Cyprinids

    Selective breeding programs for the Common carp (Cyprinus carpio) include improvement in growth, shape and resistance to disease. Experiments carried out in the USSR used crossings of broodstocks to increase genetic diversity and then selected the species for traits like growth rate, exterior traits and viability, and/or adaptation to environmental conditions like variations in temperature. Kirpichnikov et al. (1974)[29] and Babouchkine (1987)[30] selected carp for fast growth and tolerance to cold, the Ropsha carp. The results showed a 30–40% to 77.4% improvement of cold tolerance but did not provide any data for growth rate. An increase in growth rate was observed in the second generation in Vietnam.[31] Moav and Wohlfarth (1976) showed positive results when selecting for slower growth for three generations compared to selecting for faster growth. Schaperclaus (1962) showed resistance to the dropsy disease wherein selected lines suffered low mortality (11.5%) compared to unselected (57%).[32]

    Growth was seen to increase by 12–20% in selectively bred Iictalurus punctatus.[33] More recently, the response of the Channel Catfish to selection for improved growth rate was found to be approximately 80%, i.e., an average of 13% per generation.

    Shellfish response to selection