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The domestic livestock resources of Turkey: cattle local breeds and types and their conservation status

  • O. Yilmaz (a1), O. Akin (a2), S. Metin Yener (a3), M. Ertugrul (a3) and R. T. Wilson (a4)...


Turkey's 10.6 million head of cattle comprise a rich array of native breeds and types but these are being increasingly eroded by the often indiscriminate use of exotic genotypes. The structure of agriculture is such that most farms are predominantly subsistence oriented, of small size, keep few animals and provide only minimal inputs. Native breeds have evolved to meet these conditions and are generally well adapted to the natural environment, inadequate and unbalanced nutrition and disease stress. In the last 80 years, there has been much modification of the natural gene pool and many distinct breed types are in danger of or have already suffered extinction. This paper describes some of the major remaining cattle genetic resources and their conservation status. Government is now aware of the danger of the impoverishment or loss of this important aspect of biodiversity and has established programmes for conservation and preservation of several native breeds. Government, research institutions and producers should work together to ensure that the local gene pool is preserved and can thus continue to contribute to biodiversity and sustainable livestock production.

En Turquie, les 10,6 millions de têtes de bétail comprennent une vaste gamme de races et de types indigènes qui, toutefois, subissent de plus en plus l’érosion en raison d'une utilisation souvent indiscriminée de génotypes exotiques. La structure de l'agriculture comporte que la plupart des fermes s'orientent principalement vers une agriculture de subsistance, sont de petite taille, élèvent peu d'animaux et ne fournissent que le minimum d'intrants. Les races indigènes ont évolué pour satisfaire ces conditions et sont convenablement adaptées au milieu naturel, à une nutrition inadéquate et déséquilibrée et aux stress provoqués par les maladies. Au cours des 80 dernières années, les modifications du pool de gènes naturel ont été nombreuses et plusieurs types de races distinctes sont en danger ou ont déjà disparu. Cet article décrit quelques-unes des principales ressources génétiques des bovins qui subsistent et leur état de conservation. Le gouvernement prend conscience à présent du danger de l'appauvrissement ou de la perte de cet aspect important de la biodiversité et a mis en place des programmes pour la conservation et la préservation de plusieurs races indigènes. Le gouvernement, les instituts de recherche et les producteurs devraient travailler conjointement pour assurer la préservation du pool de gènes local et sa contribution continue à la biodiversité et à une production animale durable.

Los 10,6 millones de cabezas de ganado de Turquía comprenden un amplio abanico de razas y tipos; sin embargo, éstos están sufriendo una mayor erosión por el uso indiscriminado de genotipos foráneos. La estructura de la agricultura es tal que la mayoría de las explotaciones están orientadas a la subsistencia, de pequeño tamaño, manteniendo muy pocos animales y llevando a cabo una inversión mínima. Las razas autóctonas se han desarrollado para satisfacer estas condiciones y, en general, están muy bien adaptadas al medio en que se desarrollan, a una alimentación pobre y desequilibrada y a diferentes enfermedades. A lo largo de los últimos 80 años se han producido grandes modificaciones del acervo genético, motivo por el cual muchas de estas razas se encuentran en peligro de extinción o han llegado a extinguirse. Este trabajo describe algunas de los principales recursos genéticos de los animales domésticos que quedan y su estado conservación. Actualmente el gobierno es consciente del peligro de empobrecimiento o de la pérdida de esta importante parte de la biodiversidad y, para ello, ha puesto en marcha programas de conservación y preservación de varias razas autóctonas. Tanto el gobierno como los centros de investigación, así como los productores, deben trabajar conjuntamente para asegurar que el acervo genético local se mantenga, y poder contribuir así al desarrollo de la biodiversidad y a la producción sostenible del ganado.


Corresponding author

Correspondence to: R.T. Wilson, Bartridge Partners, Umberleigh, Devon EX37 9AS, UK. email:


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