Impact of biotechnology on animal breeding.

I. Wilmut, Chris Haley, John Woolliams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The objective of this review is to consider the techniques for (1) production of embryos, (2) identification of genes, or (3) genetic manipulation and the application of these techniques in animal breeding programmes. Genetic manipulation is the only biotechnology that holds the promise of creating new genetic variation in a species, either increasing the amount available for selection or creating it de novo where none previously existed. Gene mapping and marker assisted selection may enable new genetic variation to be introgressed into one breed from another of the same species. Marker assisted selection has the potential to increase accuracy of selection and also reduce the generation interval, especially if used in conjunction with reproductive technologies that are under development. Gene mapping may also allow the identification and isolation of genes that may be fed back into genetic manipulation programmes. Techniques of embryo production may allow a combination of increased accuracy and intensity of selection at a given level of inbreeding compared to MOET, with reduced generation interval (compared to progeny testing). Additionally, new embryo production, cloning and transfer techniques could revolutionise methods for the dissemination of improvement. As there will be great interdependence between the techniques, the way in which we use a new technique will depend upon which of the other procedures are available. As a result, breeding schemes will have to evolve to take full advantage of each new opportunity. There is a need for research not only to establish the techniques, but also to consider how best to use them in animal breeding and production schemes.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)149-162
Number of pages14
JournalAnimal Reproduction Science
Issue number1-4
Publication statusPublished - 1992
Event12th International Congress on Animal Reproduction : Clinical trends and basic research in animal reproduction - The Hague, Netherlands
Duration: 23 Aug 199227 Aug 1992


  • marker-assisted selection embryonic stem-cells nuclear transplantation transgenic mice dairy-cattle gene manipulation programs schemes traits

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