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Animal Breeding

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Animal Breeding - Lesson Summary

Animal breeding is the controlled propagation of animals to achieve desirable qualities of farm animals and increase the yield of these animals. The term ‘breed’ refers to a group of animals within a species, related by ancestors and possessing many similar characters such as appearance, behaviour and size.
 
Animal breeding is divided into two main categories; inbreeding and out-breeding. Inbreeding is breeding between animals belonging to the same breed with a common ancestor whereas out-breeding is breeding between animals belonging to different breeds or between the same breed but with different ancestors or between different species.

Animals selected for inbreeding are of superior quality and are closely related for four to six generations. Mating is carried out between offspring which have superior qualities. Thus, inbreeding increases homozygosity in animals. This is similar to Mendel’s experiment that yielded homozygous pure lines in pea plants. Inbreeding also helps in the expression of desirable characters and the elimination of undesirable characters in the offspring.
 
Out-breeding, can be carried out in three ways: out-crossing, cross-breeding and interspecific hybridisation. Out-crossing is mating between animals of the same breed but with no common ancestors for up to four to six generations on either side. This type of breeding overcomes inbreeding depression. Cross-breeding is mating between animals of superior quality belonging to different breeds to produce hybrids possessing superior qualities of both their parents. The third type of out-breeding is interspecific hybridisation, where animals of two different species are mated.
 
Both inbreeding and out-breeding can also be carried out using controlled breeding experiments. Artificial insemination is one such method. In artificial Insemination, semen is first collected from the superior male. The semen is then injected into the reproductive tract or vagina of the female animal or can be frozen for future use. Thus, artificial insemination is carried out to overcome problems in natural breeding and also to carry out mating between animals that are geographically separated.
However, the success of animal breeding using artificial insemination is low, and so new techniques like Multiple Ovulation Embryo Transfer Technology were developed.

MOET involves the administration of gonadotrophic hormones like FSH and LH to induce super-ovulation. Super-ovulation is the production of six to eight eggs instead of one egg. The super-ovulated female is mated with a superior male either through natural mating or artificial insemination. This results in fertilisation of all the eggs. When the fertilised eggs reach the eight- to 32-cell stage, they are non-surgically removed and then implanted into different surrogate mothers for further development in a process called embryo transfer. So different techniques such as artificial insemination and MOET along with various inbreeding and out-breeding methods are employed in animal breeding to produce offspring with superior qualities.

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