Author(s): Becskei Zsolt, Savić Mila, Gáspárdy András, Petrujkić Branko, Dimitrijević Blagoje, Trailović Ružica, Dimitrijević Vladimir
Keywords:autochthonous genetic resource, conservation, phenotype characterization, Lipe type Zackel sheep
The aim of this study was to emphasize the importance of conservation of the Lipe sheep, as a local endangered type of Zackel breed, and to perform a comprehensive phenotypic characterization in order to ensure a better use and preservation of this genetic resource. In addition, we compared the results of a detailed morphometric characterization of the modern Lipe sheep carried out in the present study with the morphometric parameters of the native form of this breed described in 1935. The comparative analysis revealed the development dynamics of the local Lipe sheep in the traditional habitat, over a period of nearly one century. Throughout this period, different factors affecting Lipe sheep management, such as biogeografic, agro-economic, sociocultural and others, led to significant population erosion, and to the current status of the Lipe sheep as an endangered genetic resource. Although a slight increase has been registered in some body measurements, the major body indexes of the Lipe sheep, such as body format, body compactness, body massiveness, body proportion, pelvic, and head index, remained without significant fluctuations over the last century (p>0.05). Body length of the modern type still exceeds the height at withers, which was also recorded in the native Lipe sheep nearly 100 years ago. A prominent sexual dimorphism is still evident. Therefore, our comparative analysis showed no significant differences between the native and modern form of Lipe sheep in their body format and growth potential. The slight increases in absolute body measurements of the modern Lipe type we recorded could be linked to better housing conditions and improved quality of feed, without application of strategic selection measures over the last 100 years. The importance of conservation of this ovine resource is less economical, but mostly cultural, historical and heritage oriented, and still essential for the survival of the breed.
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