Loss of genetic diversity among animal populations occurs due to genetic introgression, crossbreeding, inbreeding, climate change and its related factors. Therefore, the objective of the study was to quantify threats, previous conservation attempts and opportunities of conserving indigenous animal genetic resources in Ethiopia. The consequences of genetic introgressions include reduced survival and fitness of the first and second generations, accelerated growth rate, decreased predator avoidance behaviors and increased agonistic behaviors. Inbreeding allows rare, harmful recessive alleles to become expressed in the homozygous form, with resulting harmful effects and reduces genetic variability and performances on the offspring. The cause threatening the survival of the adapted indigenous animal breeds in Ethiopia is indiscriminate crossbreeding with exotic germplasm. On the other hand, due to climate changes, indigenous animal breeds are changing their distribution patterns. Animals specially the wild are shifting their ranges, altering their phenology, changes in population dynamics, and some are facing extinction, or have become extinct. Different organizations have made attempts to conserve 3 indigenous cattle breeds and one sheep breed in Ethiopia. Their attempts are failing due to the gaps of information for sustainable utilization and conservation of animal genetic resources. Setting priorities to conserve, develop and utilize the available genetic resources as well as ex situ conservation can be taken as an opportunity for the maintenance of nucleus flocks as a repository of the pure breed.
Key words: Climate change, crossbreeding, genetic introgression, inbreeding, Ethiopia.
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