Genetic improvement approaches of indigenous cattle breeds for adaptation, conservation and sustainable utilization to changing climate in Ethiopia

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Tariku Woldeyohannes
Simret Betsha
Aberra Melesse


This paper attempts to review the cattle genetic improvement approaches for sustainable utilization, adaptation, and conservation in the face of changing climatic conditions. Livestock production is affected by climate change, which poses a greater threat to populations that rely on them for their overall food security. Climate change negatively affects cattle production directly through its impact on animal physiology, behavior, and health and indirectly through its effect on feed and water availability, quality and quantity of pasture, forage crops, and rangeland due to increased temperature droughts. Improvement of cattle genetic resources that are efficient and well adapted to extreme temperatures, low-quality diets, and disease challenges is critical to effectively cope with climate change. Designing suitable breeding strategies will facilitate improving the performance of cattle breeds and enhance their tolerance to the dynamics of climate change. Replacement of local cattle breeds with exotic ones and unplanned crossbreeding with them without enough consideration of environmental
conditions are among the major factors contributing to the loss of locally adapted breeds that possess certain adaptive traits. Maintenance of indigenous cattle’s genetic diversity, which underpins resistance to environmental stresses is a viable strategy to mitigate the possible effects of future climatic challenges. In contrast to the traditional selection, genomic selection increases the accuracy of selection with the largest genetic gain, for the low heritability traits such as adaptability and longevity. In conclusion, any breeding strategies should be relevant in terms of breed suitability, performance, and adaptability in the given production environment to sustain cattle production

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Woldeyohannes, T. ., Simret Betsha, & Aberra Melesse. (2023). Genetic improvement approaches of indigenous cattle breeds for adaptation, conservation and sustainable utilization to changing climate in Ethiopia: Veterinary Integrative Sciences, 22(1), 231–250. Retrieved from
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