Biodiv Sci

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Marginal diversity and its application to Chinese sheep breeds conservation

Yuehui Ma*   

  1. Institute of Animal Science, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Beijing 100094
  • Received:2004-10-25 Revised:2005-01-04 Online:2005-01-20 Published:2005-01-20
  • Contact: Yuehui Ma


This paper introduced an approach of marginal diversity, and evaluated the contribution, marginal diversity and conservation potency of each of the 11 sheep breeds from northern China based on genetic distance and extinction probability. The results showed that the marginal diversity of Sunite sheep was the highest (-0.2008), Tan sheep (-0.1932) and Lanzhou large tailed sheep (-0.1843) the next, and Minxian black fur sheep the lowest (-0.1268). The conservation potency of Lanzhou barge tailed sheep was the highest (0.1419), the second was Tong sheep (0.1017), and small tailed Han sheep was the lowest (0.0365). Our result suggested that the optimum conservation strategy is to give priority to those breeds with the highest conservation potency,rather than to the most endangered breeds; thus, Lanzhou large tailed sheep and Tong sheep should be given conservation priority.