Europe owns an animal inheritance with a huge genetic diversity, including hundreds of threatened or rare breeds of domestic farm animals, including fish. Animal production systems are constantly changing (intensification and industrialization), and a decreasing number of breeds are now producing an increasing part of Europe’s total animal production. This has contributed to the disappearance of many native breeds, and within populations the genetic base is becoming increasingly narrow. The genetic resource base of Europe’s numerous and diverse native breeds is of great importance to the future prosperity of the European animal production industry as genetic biodiversity allows the expression of advantageous traits influencing adaptability to both changing environmental conditions and emerging diseases. As such, there is an urgent need to protect and conserve animal genetic resources, not just as an “insurance” against acute threats such as climate change or disease epidemics, or a source of genes for contemporary breeding, but also as part of our national heritage.
The Nordic region is characterized by a rich biodiversity in production animals (including fish), including numerous native and rare breeds. This workshop will highlight the urgent need to protect and conserve these animal genetic resources through Nordic collaboration. The workshop will bring together renown international guest speakers in the fields of animal conservation and cryobiology, as well as representatives from the major animal breeding companies. The major outcome of the workshop will be to put forward a future strategy for the conservation of Nordic liverstock biodiversity. Central to this will be the establishment of a centralized Nordic Gene Bank.
MILJØFORSK-Miljøforskning for en grønn samfunnsomstilling