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Animal breeding entails the selective mating of animals with the objective of obtaining an offspring with desired characteristics (Nicholl, 2008). Various methods are useful in the achievement of the desired traits. Due to the advancement of technology in breeding, the process of modifying the quality of an animal’s offspring has achieved tremendous transformations. These transformations are the ones that led to the invention of the most current method of animal breeding called genetic engineering. Genetic engineering is a process whereby, human beings modify the genetic composition of an animal to achieve the desired traits (Yount, 2002). This is possible through alteration of the DNA of that animal. On the other hand, traditional breeding methods involve selection of animals that possess desired traits. These selected animals mate to produce offsprings of desired traits. This is the most commonly used methods because it does not involve a change of genetic composition of animals. However, genetic engineering has taken over the traditional breeding methods because of its ability to increase productivity of animals. The improvement in productivity is due to the following advantages of this process when compared to traditional breeding methods (Yount, 2008).
Firstly, Genetic engineering is useful in the fight against the diseases that result from the hereditary factors (Nicholl, 2008). Genetic engineering enables detection of these diseases and the relevant measures taken to alter the genetic composition of the animal to make that animal disease resistant. In addition, genetic engineering is useful in protection of animals against infectious diseases. This involves introduction of genes that are capable of producing an antigen to fight any virus that finds its way into the animal. On the other hand, traditional breeding does not have the capacity to produce offsprings that are resistant to hereditary diseases. This is because it is not possible to control the genetic composition in the offspring. Moreover, the traditional method of animal breeding cannot protect the animals from infectious diseases since they do not use technology of introducing genes in the animals (Park, 2001).
Secondly, genetic engineering in animal breeding is useful in the determination of the traits that the animal should posses. For instance, a person who desires to have an animal that is resistant to pests can do it by deciding the genetic composition of the animal to ensure it contains the genes that are resistant to pests. This cannot be achieved using traditional breeding because the natural mating is the one that determines the genes the animal should posses. Therefore, even if one desires an offspring resistant to pest, it is not possible to decide the genetic composition of that animal (Stanley, 2000).
Thirdly, genetic engineering is necessary in animal breeding because of its usefulness in the elimination of undesired traits, in animals. This is possible because this method can decide the genes in a given animal. Therefore, one can use the method in eliminating the genes that are undesirable in the animals. In long-run, this will lead to extinction of undesired animals in the universe. This makes genetic engineering superior over the traditional method of breeding since traditional breeding methods cannot dictate the genes in an offspring (LeVine, 2006).
Fourthly, genetic engineering is a crucial method of breeding because it makes possible to diversify the animals’ breeds. Alteration of the genetic composition of animals results in the creation of a variety of animal breeds. Cross breeding of these breeds produces a variety of the unique breeds. This process goes on thus leading to diversification of animals. In addition, the process protects the species that are threatened with extinction. This is done by cloning those species perceived in danger of extinction. For example, The Chinese cloned the Panda to protect it from extinction (Stanley, 2000).
Fifthly, Genetic engineering is useful in creation of organs relevant for future organ transplant. These animals provide crucial organs used in human beings during organ transplantation. This cannot be possible if traditional methods of breeding are the only methods used in animal breeding (Engelhard, Hagen, & Boysen, 2008).
Sixthly, genetic engineering breeds only animals of high productivity. For example, addition of genes responsible for high-milk production in cows to increase their productivity is enabled. This will encourage stocking of cows with high-milk production. This is not possible with traditional production methods (Stanley, 2000).
Finally, genetic engineering in animal breeding is crucial in research and testing purposes. Alteration of genes in the animals gives one an opportunity to learn the effects of adding or deleting particular genes in the animal. In addition, it helps to establish the effect of genetic mutation and other issues pertaining to DNA. These findings are impossible with traditional methods of breeding, and this makes genetic engineering an essential tool in research methods (LeVine, 2006).
Application of genetic engineering in animal breeding is the current technology that has improved the animal breeding process. The process has various advantages in line with animal breeding. It ensures improvement of animal’s quality in terms of adaptability of that animal to the surrounding, through improvement of the genetic content. Genetic engineering is crucial in protecting both the hereditary and infectious diseases. This has raised animal productivity at large. However, this process has some weakness. For example, there are religious concerns that the method is replacing the natural way of creation. If we consider the limitation against the advantages of genetic engineering, the process is still beneficial to animals and should be encouraged.