Biodiversity and Conservation of Indian Sheep Genetic Resources - An Overview -

  • Bhatia, S. (National Bureau of Animal Genetic Resources) ;
  • Arora, R. (National Bureau of Animal Genetic Resources)
  • Received : 2004.11.01
  • Accepted : 2005.04.13
  • Published : 2005.10.01


Indian subcontinent is a rich source of diverse ovine germplasm, and only very few countries have such a large number of breeds with wide genetic diversity. This vast ovine biodiversity in India is being eroded rapidly and more than 50% of sheep breeds are currently under threat. It is noteworthy that the characterization of Indian sheep breeds was last done in the first half of the century since then no recent estimates are available and surveys in majority of the regions/breeds are far from complete. Starting in 1985 National Bureau of Animal Genetic Resources (NBAGR), Karnal, India, therefore, initiated activities aimed at determining the status and compiling information on indigenous farm animals including sheep. This report represents attempts made to date on the basis of field/literature surveys and additional activities on molecular characterization to ascertain their status including distribution, population changes, breed diversities and risk status. The need, mode and mechanisms of conservation are also described. Involvement of several agencies for evaluation, improvement, conservation programmes and recommendations made for effective characterization and conservation of sheep biodiversity are highlighted. This publication would promote action particularly at national level to improve the information base on domestic Indian breeds of sheep and provide input into national domestic sheep diversity conservation policy decisions.


Indigenous Sheep;India;Biodiversity;Conservation


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