Cross-Breeding An Important Tool For Tropical Livestock Improvement

Cross-Breeding An Important Tool For Tropical Livestock Improvement

Cross-Breeding An Important Tool For Tropical Livestock Improvement

Crossbreeding is a breeding system in which unrelated livestock are mated. The offspring (or progenies) of crossbred livestock are heterozygous for the traits that differ in their parents, and the greater the degree of heterozygozity on the offspring, the more heterozygous the offspring are. Crossbred offspring inherit the entirety of their parents’ characteristics and tend to resemble one another.

First-cross generations are usually more productive than their parents’ mean values. This is referred to as Hybrid Vigour or Heterosis. The degree of hybrid vigour is determined by how complementary the parental stock’s characteristics are.

In general, the greater the genetic differences between the parents, the greater the degree of hybrid vigour, which may manifest as improved fertility, viability, and general thriftiness. The degree of heterosis is also affected by the level of stress in the environment (Barlow, 1981), with the more stressful the environment, the greater the heterosis.

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However, hybrid vigour vanishes when hybrids mate and produce offspring. As a result, if a livestock owner wishes to apply or use hybrid vigour optimally, new parental stock are constantly required.

Cross-Breeding An Important Tool For Tropical Livestock Improvement
Cross-Breeding in dogs

Advantages of Crossbreeding

Maternal Heterossis

The advantage of using a crossbred cow over a straightbred cow is maternal heterosis. Crossbred cows have many advantages, including a 6% higher calving rate, a 4% higher calf survival rate, an 8% increase in efficiency, a 38% increase in longevity, and a 23% increase in lifetime productivity, according to research.

These benefits will be maximized if the breeds and individuals used to create the crossbred cow are compatible with your resources and goals.

Breed Complementary

Another advantage of crossbreeding is the ability to capitalize on breed complementarity. This entails assessing the strengths and weaknesses of potential breeds and selecting those that complement one another. The end result should be an animal that possesses the best characteristics of both breeds. Examples include the Black Baldie (Angus x Hereford), Brangus (Angus x Brahman), and SimAngus (Simmental x Angus), among many others. The characteristics that are most important to you should be determined by the goals of your operation.

Direct Heterosis

The benefit observed in a crossbred calf is direct heterosis. These benefits include a 4% increase in calf survival, a 5% increase in weaning weight, and a 6% increase in post-weaning gain on average. These effects, however, are heavily influenced by breed.

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Crossbreeding may be beneficial to tropical livestock owners in three ways. It can be used to produce replacement stock for breeding. Backcrossing indigenous and low-producing livestock to more productive exotic/introduced stock can be used to upgrade them.

New synthetic breeds can be created by crossing indigenous and introduced stock and then selecting the desired animal or trait. Both advantages: hybrid vigour and complementarity can be obtained through some form of systematic crossbreeding between two or more indigenous and introduced stock breeds.

Genetic engineering, also known as recombinant DNA technology, is a relatively new practice that has the potential to improve animal function for better adaptation and productivity. This technology has the potential to create a new generation of animals.

Currently, the technique is being used to create vaccines against certain animal viruses. By introducing genes into bacteria and inducing them to multiply or reproduce very quickly, attenuated, and used for vaccine production, it is possible to copy genes or manipulate to increase the bulk of genetic materials. This is referred to as gene cloning. This technology is being used to create a cattle vaccine for foot and mouth disease.

Cross-Breeding An Important Tool For Tropical Livestock Improvement

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