Selection against genetic defects in conservation schemes while controlling inbreeding

  • Anna K. SonessonEmail author
  • Luc L.G. Janss
  • Theo H.E. Meuwissen
Open Access


We studied different genetic models and evaluation systems to select against a genetic disease with additive, recessive or polygenic inheritance in genetic conservation schemes. When using optimum contribution selection with a restriction on the rate of inbreeding (ΔF) to select against a disease allele, selection directly on DNA-genotypes is, as expected, the most efficient strategy. Selection for BLUP or segregation analysis breeding value estimates both need 1–2 generations more to halve the frequency of the disease allele, while these methods do not require knowledge of the disease mutation at the DNA level. BLUP and segregation analysis methods were equally efficient when selecting against a disease with single gene or complex polygene inheritance, i.e. knowledge about the mode of inheritance of the disease was not needed for efficient selection against the disease. Smaller schemes or schemes with a more stringent restriction on ΔF needed more generations to halve the frequency of the disease alleles or the fraction of diseased animals. Optimum contribution selection maintained ΔF at its predefined level, even when selection of females was at random. It is argued that in the investigated small conservation schemes with selection against a genetic defect, control of ΔF is very important.


genetic defects selection inbreeding conservation 

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© INRA, EDP Sciences 2003

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anna K. Sonesson
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Luc L.G. Janss
    • 1
  • Theo H.E. Meuwissen
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Animal Science and Health (ID-Lelystad)LelystadThe Netherlands
  2. 2.AKVAFORSK (Institute of Aquaculture Research Ltd)Norway

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