Precision animal breeding

A P F Flint, J A Woolliams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We accept that we are responsible for the quality of life of animals in our care. We accept that the activities of man affect all the living things with which we share this planet. But we are slow to realize that as a result we have a duty of care for all living things. That duty extends to the breeding of animals for which we are responsible. When animals are bred by man for a purpose, the aim should be to meet certain goals: to improve the precision with which breeding outcomes can be predicted; to avoid the introduction and advance of characteristics deleterious to well-being; and to manage genetic resources and diversity between and within populations as set out in the Convention on Biological Diversity. These goals are summed up in the phrase precision animal breeding. They should apply whether animals are bred as sources of usable products or services for medical or scientific research, for aesthetic or cultural considerations, or as pets. Modern molecular and quantitative genetics and advances in reproductive physiology provide the tools with which these goals can be met.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)573-90
Number of pages18
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1491
Publication statusPublished - 12 Feb 2008


  • Animal Welfare
  • Animals
  • Animals, Domestic
  • Animals, Genetically Modified
  • Breeding
  • Genetic Variation
  • Reproductive Techniques, Assisted
  • Selection, Genetic

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