Gene pools and seed banks – an analogy

In a Radio 4 interview yesterday morning, a student from Bicton farm said that she was looking forward to the lectures on ‘rare breeds’. They had become rare over the years because the popular breeds were more profitable, easier to breed and to manage. The problem was that, in the long-term, the more inbred a species became, the more its vulnerability to disease. Apart from liking the animals themselves, she pointed out that the rare breeds were an important part of the gene pool for sheep, pigs and goats etc.

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