Optimising ex situ genetic resource collections for European livestock conservation

R de Oliveira Silva, B Vosough Ahmadi, SJ Hiemstra, D Moran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
72 Downloads (Pure)


Ex situ collections offer the potential to reduce extinction risks, affording option to society in maintaining future breeding opportunities for productivity and heritage traits. However, how much should we be seeking to collect and conserve in gene banks, and where? We developed a mathematical model to optimise logistical decisions of breed conservation choices and to evaluate alternative scenarios for efficiently re-allocating genetic materials currently stored in different European gene banks, allowing for cross-country collections, cost and cryogenic capacity differentials. We show how alternative allocations for the breeds that are currently stored in 11 European gene banks could reduce overall conservation costs by around 20% by selecting cryogenic banks that have relatively lower combination of fixed and collection costs, and are geographically closer to collection regions. Our results show that centralizing collections in one gene bank would double the costs, relative to collective European collections approaches. We also calculate marginal costs of collections and show that increasing diversity within the gene banks implies in higher costs per conserved breed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63 - 73
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Animal Breeding and Genetics
Issue number1
Early online date11 Dec 2018
Publication statusFirst published - 11 Dec 2018


  • Cryoconservation
  • Ex situ conservation
  • Gene bank
  • Livestock diversity
  • Optimisation


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