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Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
The Global Plan of Action for Animal Genetic Resources, adopted in 2007, is the first internationally agreed framework for the management of biodiversity in the livestock sector. It calls for the development of technical guidelines to support countries in their implementation efforts. Guidelines on the Preparation of national strategies and action plans for animal genetic resources were published by FAO in 2009 and are being complemented by a series of guideline publications addressing specific technical subjects.
These guidelines on Phenotypic characterization of animal genetic resources address Strategic Priority Area 1 of the Global Plan of Action – "Characterization, inventory and monitoring of trends and associated risks". They complement, in particular, the guidelines on molecular genetic characterization and on surveying and monitoring of animal genetic resources. They have been endorsed by the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.
The guidelines offer advice on how to conduct a well-targeted and cost-effective phenotypic characterization study that contributes to the improvement of animal genetic resources management in the context of country-level implementation of the Global Plan of Action. An overview of the concepts and approaches that underpin phenotypic characterization is followed by practical guidance on planning and implementing field work, data management and data analysis. The annexes include generic data collection formats for phenotypic characterization of major livestock species, as well as a framework for recording data on breeds' production environments.
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