Population Genetics and its importance in goats
Practical utility of genetics principles for improvement of production traits in goats is not yet realized in India. Some research institutes have already done lot of work to improve Indian goat breeds but their research is remaining in the books and journals. Systematic breeding of Indian goats is never considered which results in indiscriminate breeding and production of large number of non-descript breeds. These non descript breeds have very low production level and poor feed conversion efficiency.
Population genetics is the basic criteria to design a breeding plan for the flock. It is essential to keep in mind that genetic improvement is not overnight miracle in fact it is a tedious job which required patience as well as investment of time and money. But one thing is sure, if you developed a breed or strain of your choice then it will definitely insure your life as well as your upcoming generations.
Every animal is different and unique. It is because of its genetic makeup, unique combinations of genes make them different even twins are different from one another. This difference is called variation in animal breeding and it is the fundamental tool to bring genetic improvement in the population.
If you observe your flock of goats for particular character like average daily gain than you realize that there are some animals which are gaining at faster rate than others and some shows poor response even if each animal access equal environment and resources. These animals give range of values from minimum to maximum. For example there are 100 kids; 10 kids have Av. Daily Gain 40gm, 40 kids have ADG 70g, 40 kids have ADG 85g and 10 kids have ADG 100g.
This data shows huge variation in a flock which ranges from 40gm per day to 100gm per day. But most of the individuals range near to 76gm which is population mean. Now we can see that the individuals which shows ADG more than 76gm are better than those having performance lower than 76gm. There are 50 kids who are performing better and it will be beneficial to breed these individual rather than whole herds. This is very basic of selection procedure which leads to improvement of whole herd.
All economically important characters are govern by more than 1 gene and they shows continues variation in the population. These characters are polygenic in nature and responsible for its normal distribution curve. Proper recording and regular observation of the character of choice which you want to improve is the basic need of the whole breeding program.