Conserving genetic diversity

Since the early 1990s, genetic material from Holstein Friesian (HF) and Maas-Rijn-IJssel (MRIJ) bulls has been stored in the Dutch national germplasm collection. This collection is a long-term investment with the aim to conserve genetic diversity.

Using the gene bank collections

Wageningen University & Research, Animal Breeding & Genomics recently investigated whether the HF and MRIJ gene bank collections can contribute to improving and maintaining genetic diversity in the current breeding populations. It was found that bulls from the collection add little to the current population of breeding bulls, when selecting for the current total merit index.

Targeted use of the material

The gene bank for HF and MRIJ is particularly valuable for conserving genetic diversity and in the event of strong changes in breeding goals. Greater genetic diversity makes it easier to adapt to changing circumstances and breeding goals. In the future, targeted use of the gene bank material in breeding programs can therefore prove useful.