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^{*}Corresponding author: R Sah; E-mail:

The demographic and microsatellite data on 25 markers along with non genetic information such as distribution, adaptation and utility pertaining to 24 Indian goat breeds were used to assess their conservation priorities. The effective population size (Ne) of Gohilwadi, Jharkhand Black and Sangamneri was greater than 200 and that of Black Bengal, Kutchi, Mehsana, Sirohi, Malabari and Zalawadi ranged from 100 to 200 but it was below 100 for rest (60%) of the breeds with Ganjam having the least value of 17.5 based on microsatellite data. All goat breeds whose effective population size is greater than 100 based on markers did have population size between 0.1 and 0.2 million except in few cases. The Ne based on microsatellite and demographic data revealed almost same order of ranking of goat populations. It was also revealed that Attappady and Kutchi were at highest risk of extinction probability (0.63) and more than half of the Indian goat breeds were having less than 50% extinction probability. Therefore, Attappady and Kutchi should be given top priority for conservation.

There are 34 well recognised and registered goat breeds in India (

The present research work was conducted at National Bureau of Animal Genetics Resources, Karnal-132001 during 2016-17. The data on 25 STR markers generated for 22 goat breeds had already been published by Dixit ^{th} livestock census, Department of Animal Husbandry, Government of India; Network and NATP project reports of National Bureau of Animal Genetic Resources, Karnal; Scientist opinion and farmers talk and personal experience of the authors with goat farmers.

The extinction risk is mainly based on population size but many other factors also influence the survival of a breed (Ruane, 1999; FAO, 2000). Here, threat status of each breed was assessed based on seven indicators: (1) population size extracted from STR and livestock breedwise survey- 2013, Govt of India, (2) geographical distribution of breed based on survey data of the breed, (3) crossbreeding, (4) conservation program, (5) organized farm, (6) adaptation and (7) uniqueness/special traits of the breed (production/reproduction). We assumed that breeds scoring high value have higher likelihood of being replaced. To calculate extinction probabilities, values between 0 (no effect on threat) and 0.3 (high effect on threat) for threat indicator 1 and between 0 and 0.1 for indicators 2-6 were assigned. Indicator 7 was assigned a value between 0 (high uniqueness) and 0.2 (least uniqueness) based on literature. The values for other indicators were assigned: (1) if population size greater than 3,00,000 = 0.0 and less that 1,00,000 = 0.3, between 1,00,000 and 2,00,000 = 0.2 and between 2,00,000 and 3,00,000 = 0.1; similarly based on STR data, if effective population size greater than 80 = 0.3, between 80 and 160 = 0.2, 160 and 240=0.1 and if less than 240= 0.0 (2) if distributed across states = 0.0 otherwise 0.1; (3) if level of indiscriminate crossbreeding is very high =0.1 otherwise 0.0; (4) if there is existing conservation program = 0.0 otherwise 0.1; (5) if the breed is maintained at organized farm = 0.0 otherwise 0.1; (6) if breed is well adapted based on literature = 0.0 otherwise 0.1. All variables were weighted equally except effective population size which was weighted three times of the other variables because the number of animals of a breed was considered a direct and crucial measure for its extinction probability.

The effective population size (_{eLD} = 1/ [3*(^{2}-1/S)] where

The number of male and female population except those below one year of age was considered for the estimation of

Where _{m}_{f}

The extinction probability of each breed was computed by summing of all seven variables and the sum was rescaled to a value between 0.1 and 0.9 using the following equation as suggested by Reist-Marti

where ^{th} breed and

The conservation value of each breed was assessed by considering the all multiple factors as per FAO (2013).

where, _{i}^{th} breed; _{F1}= weightage given to factor 1; _{1i}_{F1}= average value of factor 1 across all breeds; and σ_{F1}= standard deviation of factor 1 value across all breeds. Higher conservation priority was given to the breed with higher conservation value.

The effective population size and extinction probability of the breeds under study have been presented in

Based on demographic data, the highest effective population size (

The estimates of extinction probability based on seven variables including NeLD or Nc are presented in

Based on Nc and other variables, the extinction probability was found to be highest in Attappady (0.70) followed by Gohilwadi, Kutchi and Konkan kanyal (0.63) and Zalawadi (0.57) goats while lowest in Black Bengal & Sirohi (0.10). The extinction probability for rest of the goat breeds was less than or equal to 0.50 (

Breed wise extinction probability (in %) based on livestock breed-wise survey data

Breed wise extinction probability (in %) based on microsatellite data

Both the microsatellite and demographic data revealed that Attappady and Kutchi were at highest risk of extinction probability followed by Zalawadi; and more than half of the Indian goat breeds were having less than 50% extinction probability. Thus, the order of ranking of different goat breeds either on the basis of NeLD or Nc remained almost same but differences thereof may be due to differences in blood sampling process.

The conservation potential estimates and ranking of Indian goat breeds were presented in

The effective population size, extinction probability and conservation potential of 24 Indian goat breeds were assessed based on microsatellite and demographic data along with non-genetic factors such as distribution, adaptation and uniqueness of the breed. The extinction probability of most of the Indian goat breeds was ≤ 50%. The study revealed that Attappady and Kutchi breeds should be considered on top priority for their conservation. The analysis of microsatellite and demographic data also revealed that microsatellites effectively predicted the effective population size and hence, the priority for conservation of breed(s).