Threatened Goat Breeds from the Tropics: The Impact of Crossbreeding with Foreign Goats

  • Maria N. Ribeiro
  • Laura Leandro da Rocha
  • Francisco F. Ramos de Carvalho
  • Roberto G. Costa
  • Janaína K. Gomes Arandas
  • Neila L. Ribeiro


Local goat breeds are able to adapt to specific environments due to the long process of geographic isolation, natural and—notably morphological—artificial selection they were submitted to, which resulted in characteristics that have allowed them to survive in harsh and poor environments. Continuous crossbreeding has promoted a quick replacement and decrease of local breeds, which has been relevant in Brazil. Although they are less productive than specialized foreign breeds, they are fully adapted to the tropics and, therefore, are able to produce with those particular conditions. They play important social and economic roles within the different continents, as they are essential in adverse areas where farming is difficult, and, in most situations, they are the only source of animal protein available for humans. In Brazil, for example, despite the numerous threats posed to local goat breeds, they still have a fair number of alleles by locus and good levels of heterozygosis. This is a concerning scenario that, alone, is enough to stimulate the establishment of conservation programs of local goat breeds in the country. The use of foreign breeds in tropical countries must be looked into carefully, especially in the case of extensive systems of production where local breeds prevail. Under these conditions, a challenge is faced: to increase meat production while maintaining genetic diversity within the breeds. Sustainable production systems may be accomplished if the great advantage of local breeds’ multiple functionalities is considered.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maria N. Ribeiro
    • 1
  • Laura Leandro da Rocha
    • 2
  • Francisco F. Ramos de Carvalho
    • 1
  • Roberto G. Costa
    • 3
  • Janaína K. Gomes Arandas
    • 1
  • Neila L. Ribeiro
    • 3
  1. 1.Departamento de ZootecniaUniversidade Federal Rural de PernambucoRecifeBrazil
  2. 2.Unidade Acadêmica de GaranhunsUniversidade Federal Rural de PernambucoSerra TalhadaBrazil
  3. 3.Departamento de ZootecniaUniversida de Federal da ParaíbaBananeirasBrazil

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