Dwindling Livestock Gene Pools Put Food Supply at Risk

A new paper from the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST) addresses the risks associated with the dwindling genetic diversity of livestock and poultry. Protecting Food Animal Gene Pools for Future Generations—A paper in the series on The Need for Agricultural Innovation to Sustainably Feed the World by 2050 is available free online from CAST as a 24-page PDF. In it, authors argue for greater efforts to protect the genes of animal livestock breeds, noting that “up to 25% of global livestock breeds are either at risk of being lost, or have already been lost.” The paper includes five recommendations that build on current conservation practices, including preservation of breeds with diverse properties and research on genetic and phenotypic diversity.