by Mike Safle
AGGREGATE BREEDING VALUE:
Also net merit. The breeding value of an individual for a combination of
Thought to be a locus on the chromosome where color occurs. Sometimes also
called the wild or natural color gene (this would be vicuna color in alpacas).
An alternative form of a gene.
The high plateau in southern Peru and northwestern Bolivia located around Lake
ARTIFICIAL INSEMINATION (AI):
A reproductive technology in which semen is collected from males, then used in
fresh or frozen form to breed females.
Selection that is under human control.
Small remote Peruvian communities of Indian shepherds.
(1) The mating of a hybrid to a purebred of a parent breed or line. (2) The
mating of an individual (purebred or hybrid) to any other individual (purebred
or hybrid) with which it has one or more ancestral breeds or lines in common.
The population of animals whose parents are either unknown or ignored for the
purposes of inbreeding and relationship calculation. Typically the individuals
appearing at the back of the pedigrees of the original animals in a herd or
Backcross one. The first generation of crosses between hybrids and-purebreds of
a parent breed or line.
A male who was afforded too much affection by humans as a cria and shows no
fear of them as an adult.
A classification for animals with similar genotypes for traits of interest.
Examples include heavy draft types (horses), prolific wool types (sheep), large
dual-purpose types (cattle), and tropically adapted types (many species).
The application of biological knowledge to practical needs. Often refers to (1)
technologies for altering reproduction, or (2) technologies for locating,
identifying, comparing, or otherwise manipulating genes.
The highest quality fleece which begins at the shoulder, runs the full length
of the back and down each side until it meets the more medulated fiber on the
belly. Excludes neck, leg, chest, belly, and britch. The term originated from
the image of a horse’s saddle blanket.
Breeder’s term that alludes to pedigree.
A race of animals within a species. Animals of the same breed usually have a
common origin and similar identifying characteristics.
(1) A weighted combination of traits defining aggregate breeding, value for use
in an economic selection index. (2) A general goal for a breeding program — a
notion of what constitutes the best animal.
(1) The value of an individual as a (genetic) parent. (2) The part of an
individual’s genotypic value that is due to independent and therefore
transmittable gene effects.
Alpacas breed true if two parents with a particular, simply inherited phenotype
produce offspring of that same phenotype exclusively.
The look of an alpaca.
A grouping of microstaples that together form a larger staple. The formation of
the microstaples is determined by the arrangement and density of the follicles
in the skin. Bundling is said to be an indicator of a dense fleece, due to the
evenness of follicle size and consistency of shape in the skin. (Cameron Holt,
Removing vegetable matter from fiber during processing through the use of
An agrarian peasant of Peru.
The final cleaning process, accomplished by either hand or machine, through
which alpaca fiber goes before spinning.
A vicuna drive or capture that originated with the Incas.
A specific phenotypic trait, such as crimp or fineness.
One of a number of long strands of DNA and associated proteins present in the
nucleus of every cell.
Quechua word for the color sorrel.
A measure of the degree of relationship between ancestors. The more the
relationship, the closer the inbreeding.
CLOSED NUCLEUS BREEDING SCHEME:
A nucleus breeding scheme in which germ plasma flows in only one direction –
from the nucleus to cooperating herds or flocks.
A population that is closed to genetic material from the outside.
CO-EFFICIENT OF VARIATION (cv):
The variation around the mean expressed as a percentage.
Relatives that are neither direct ancestors nor direct descendants of an
individual–siblings, aunts, uncles, nieces, and nephews.
Genes which determine an alpaca’s coat color.
The mating of alpacas that is intended to correct faults. For example; mating a
dam with a bad bite to a stud with a good bite.
A camelid less than one year old.
The regular undulation along the length of an individual fiber or lock of
fiber. A higher number of crimps per inch can indicate a finer fiber.
A reciprocal exchange of chromosome segments between homologues. Crossing over
occurs during meiosis prior to the time the homologous chromosomes are
separated to form gametes.
The process that determines which animals in a herd will not be bred.
A female parent.
DEGREE OF BACKCROSSING:
The proportion of an alpaca’s loci at which both genes of a pair trace to the
same ancestral breed or line.
A modifier gene which visibly dilutes the expression of existing pigment, i.e.,
a fawn-colored animal which is diluted to the point of expressing itself as
DIRECT RESPONSE TO SELECTION:
Genetic change in a trait resulting from selection for that trait.
Deoxyribonucleic acid, the molecule that forms the genetic code.
A laboratory method for graphically characterizing an individual’s DNA,
creating a unique genetic “fingerprint.”
An interaction between genes at a single locus such that, in heterozygotes, one
allele has more effect than the other. The allele with the greater effect is
dominant over its recessive counterpart.
Difficulty in giving birth or being born.
ECONOMIC SELECTION INDEX:
An index or combination of weighting factors and genetic information – either
phenotypic data or genetic predictions – on more than one trait. Economic
selection indexes are used in multiple-trait selection to predict aggregate
EFFECTIVE POPULATION SIZE:
The size of a population as reflected by its rate of inbreeding.
An organism in the early stages of development in the shell (bird) or uterus
A reproductive technology in which embryos from donor females are collected and
transferred in fresh or frozen form to recipient females.
The effect that external (nongenetic) factors have on animal performance.
Change in the mean performance of a population over time caused by changes in
An interaction among genes at different loci such that the expression of genes
at one locus depends on the alleles present at one or more other loci.
A medium-sized farming property in single ownership, comparable to a western
United States ranch.
ESTIMATED BREEDING VALUE:
A prediction of a breeding value. See breeding value.
Thought to be a locus on the chromosome where color occurs or is modified.
The first generation of crosses between two unrelated (though not necessarily
F1 HYBRID VIGOR:
The amount of hybrid vigor attainable in first-cross individuals.
The generation of crosses produced by mating F1 (first-cross) individuals among
A group of related individuals within a population, most often applied to
half-sib and full-sib families, but which can be applied to less related groups
including all descendants of a particular ancestor.
The ability of a female to conceive or of a male to impregnate.
A measure, in microns, of the diameter of individual fibers. Most often
expressed as an average for a representative sample of fiber.
(1) The ability of an individual and its corresponding phenotype and genotype
to contribute offspring to the next generation. (2) The number of offspring an
individual produces, not just its ability to be selected.
A trait selected for by natural selection. Fitness traits relate to an animal’s
ability to survive and reproduce.
The point at which a particular allele becomes the only allele at its locus in
a population – the frequency of the allele becomes one.
The weight of an entire fleece measured at the same time each season.
A sex cell; a sperm or egg.
The process that determines which egg matures and which sperm succeeds in
fertilizing the egg.
The basic physical unit of heredity consisting of a DNA sequence at a specific
location on a chromosome.
Also allelic frequency. The relative frequency of a particular allele in a
The occurrence of two or more loci of interest on the same chromosome.
Also a linkage map or chromosome map. A diagram showing the chromosomal
locations of specific genetic markers and genes of interest.
(1) The amount of time required to replace one generation with the next. (2) In
a closed population, the average age of parents when their selected offspring
(1) A measure of the strength (consistency, reliability) of the relationship
between breeding values for one trait and breeding values for another trait.
(2) A measure of pleiotropy (the production of change in more than one trait).
A detectable gene or DNA fragment used to identify alleles at a linked locus.
The accumulative positive genotype of an individual animal or herd which can be
passed onto progeny.
The area of academic animal breeding concerned with measurement of data,
statistical procedures, and computational techniques for predicting breeding
values and related values.
Change in the mean breeding value of a population over time.
In the context of the key equation for genetic change, variability of breeding
values within a population for a trait under selection.
(1) The genetic makeup of an individual. (2) The combination of genes at a
single locus or at a number of loci. Geneticists speak of one-locus genotypes,
two-locus genotypes, and so on.
The effect of an individual’s genes (singly and in combination) on its
performance for a trait.
A sex cell; a sperm or egg; a gamete.
Genetic material in the form of live animals, semen, or embryos.
Also topcrossing. (1) A mating system designed to create a purebred population
by mating successive generations of non-purebred females to purebred sires. (2)
A mating system designed to convert a population from one breed to another by
mating successive generations of females descended from the first breed to
sires of the second breed.
GREASY ALPACA FLEECE:
A commercial term identifying unwashed alpaca fleece.
A wild member of the New World camelidae family, Lama gunaimicoe.
Also kemp. Coarse medulated fiber. A second coat of fiber found in llamas,
vicuna, guanacos, and, to a lesser degree, alpacas.
A large land holding that originated with the land grant system used by Spanish
conquistadores. In size, comparable to an American plantation.
Half brothers and sisters.
Female alpaca or animal.
A measure of the strength of the relationship between performance (phenotypic
values) and breeding values for a trait in a population. Heritability in the
One of a pair of chromosomes having corresponding loci.
A one-locus genotype containing different alleles which express themselves in
(1) The most common graphical presentation of quantitative data. The variable
of interest, such as fiber diameter measured in microns, is placed on the
horizontal axis and the frequency values, such as the percentage of fibers per
micron, are placed on the vertical axis. (2) A micron test report that includes
administrative information provided by the identification sent in with the
individual sample. The histogram on such a report depicts the measurement of
2000 fibers in scale.
A one-locus genotype containing identical alleles which express themselves in
A breed of alpaca characterized by a well-crimped fleece that grows
perpendicular to the skin.
A crossbred animal. A term most often used to describe a llama-alpaca cross.
Characterized by weak, medulated fiber and poor breed type.
An individual that is a combination of species, breeds within species, or lines
An increase in the performance of hybrids over that of purebreds, most
noticeably in traits such as fertility and survivability.
IDENTICAL BY DESCENT:
Two genes that are copies of a single ancestral gene.
The mating of relatives.
The measure of the level of inbreeding in an individual determined by (1) the
probability that both genes of a pair in an individual are identical by
descent, or (2) the probable proportion of an individual’s loci containing
genes that are identical by descent.
The reverse of hybrid vigor. A decrease in the performance of inbreds, most
noticeably in traits such as fertility and survivability.
The independent segregation of genes at different loci during gamete formation.
INDEPENDENT CULLING LEVELS:
Minimum standards for traits undergoing multiple trait selection. Animals
failing to meet any one standard are rejected regardless of merit in other
INDEPENDENT GENE EFFECT:
The effect of a gene independent of the effect of the other gene at the same
locus (dominance) and the effects of genes at other loci (epistasis).
A trait that may or may not be important in itself, but is selected for as a
way of improving some other genetically correlated trait.
Selection for one trait as a means of improving a genetically correlated trait.
Guard hair or medulated fiber.
Scientific name for the genus containing llamas, alpacas, guanacos, and
vicunas; vicunas are sometimes separated into their own genus.
A group of related animals within a breed.
The mating of individuals within a particular line. A mating system designed to
maintain a substantial degree of relationship to a highly regarded ancestor or
group of ancestors without causing high levels of inbreeding.
The mating of sires of one line or line combination to dams of another line or
The occurrence of two or more loci of interest on the same chromosome.
A mathematical procedure that uses information from pedigreed populations to
determine whether two loci are linked and, if so, how closely.
The specific location of a gene on a chromosome.
Male alpaca used in a breeding program.
A gene that has a readily discernible effect on a trait.
MATERNAL HYBRID VIGOR:
Hybrid vigor for the maternal component of a trait.
A trait especially important in breeding females. Examples include fertility,
freedom from dystocia, milk production, maintenance efficiency, and mothering
The process that determines which (selected) males are bred to which (selected)
A set of rules for mating.
An arithmetic average.
The hollow core found in coarse guard hair or kemp fibers, often found in the
chest and underbelly portions of the fleece.
The degree to which a fleece contains medullated hair.
The process of germ cell formation.
Pigment in skin which determines skin and coat color. Melanin is found in two
chemically different forms: eumelanin (which produces brown and black) and
phaeomelanin (which produces yellow and red).
An epidermal cell that produces melanin.
The random sampling of parental genes caused by segregation and independent
assortment of genes during germ cell formation, and by random selection of
gametes in the formation of the embryo.
A praiseworthy quality.
The movement of individuals into or out of a population.
Quechua word for the color light fawn.
Genes that affect the expression of a primary gene or trait, often progressive
in effect with a wide range of expression.
An animal that incorporates more than one color in its coat.
Genes that affect multicoloration in alpacas.
More than two possible alleles at a locus.
A breeding pasture (or pen) containing more than one sire at a time.
Selection for more than one trait.
Specifically point mutation. The process that alters DNA to create new alleles.
Selection that occurs in nature independent of deliberate human control.
Natural mating (as opposed to artificial insemination).
NEGATIVE ASSORTATIVE MATING:
The mating of dissimilar individuals.
A form of dominance in which the expression of the heterozygote is exactly
midway between the expressions of the homozygous genotypes.
Any mating system in which males are not randomly assigned to females.
The statistical distribution that appears graphically as a symmetric,
bell-shaped curve. In animal breeding, the values along the horizontal axis
represent the levels of performance, breeding value, etc., that are being
examined in a population; the height of the curve at any point represents the
relative frequency of that value in the population.
NUCLEUS BREEDING SCHEME:
A cooperative breeding program in which elite animals are concentrated in a
nucleus herd or flock and superior germ plasm is then distributed among
cooperative herds or flocks to the nucleus.
Also outcrossing. The mating of unrelated individuals.
OUTCROSS BY PEDIGREE:
The mating of individuals that are not related by pedigree; often called
A form of dominance in which the expression of the heterozygote is outside the
range defined by the expressions of the homozygous genotypes and most closely
resembles the expression of the homozygous dominant genotype.
OWN PERFORMANCE DATA:
Information on an individual’s own phenotype.
A crossbred or hybrid vicuna and alpaca.
Quechua word for an Indian priest.
A form of dominance in which the expression of the heterozygote is intermediate
to the expressions of the homozygous genotypes and more closely resembles the
expression of the homozygous dominant genotype.
A breed that excels in paternal traits.
A trait especially important in market offspring. Examples include rate and
efficiency of gain, meat quality, and carcass yield.
A method for calculating inbreeding and relationship co-efficients that
simulates the paths taken by identical genes as they flow from ancestors to
A recorded list or genealogy of an alpaca’s ancestors. A registered or recorded
known line of descent.
Information on the genotype or performance of ancestors and/or collateral
relatives of an individual.
Relationships between animals due to kinship, such as full-sibs, half-sibs, and
An observed category or measured level of performance for a trait in an
The measure of the strength (consistency, reliability) of the relationship
between performance in one trait and performance in another trait.
Selection based solely on an individual’s phenotype.
PHENOTYPIC SELECTION DIFFERENTIAL:
The difference between the mean performance of those individuals selected to be
parents and the average performance of all potential parents, expressed in
units of the trait.
PHENOTYPIC SELECTION INDEX:
A form of economic selection index used with phenotypic selection. In the
classic form of phenotypic index, the traits in the index are identical to the
traits in the breeding objective.
Pinto; in the New Zealand color study, an alpaca with white and black patches.
A two-colored animal characterized by large patches of color.
The best of the plantation. Often used to refer to the finest of the herd or
the best breeding stock.
Having many toes, or more than the ordinary complement of toes.
Multiple genes that affect the same trait.
A trait affected by many genes, no single gene has an over-riding influence.
A group of intermating individuals. The term can refer to a breed, an entire
species, a single herd or flock, or even a small group of animals within a
The study of factors affecting gene and genotypic frequencies in a population.
The average phenotypic value of all individuals in population.
Any measure applied to a population as opposed to an individual.
POSITIVE ASSORTATIVE MATING:
The mating of similar individuals.
The ability of an individual to produce progeny whose performance is especially
like its own and/or is especially uniform.
The performance potential of an individual for a repeated trait.
Information on the genotype or performance of descendants of an individual.
Also transmitting ability. Half an individual’s breeding value. The expected
difference between the mean performance of the individual’s progeny and the
mean performance of all progeny (assuming randomly chosen mates).
A test used to help predict an individual’s breeding values involving multiple
matings of that individual and evaluation of its offspring.
The high barren tundra zone of the Andes mountains.
A two-dimensional grid used to determine the possible zygotes obtainable from a
An animal of unmixed ancestry; bred from members of a recognized breed or
strain without a mixture of other blood over many generations.
Wholly of one breed or line (as opposed to crossbred).
Also straightbreeding. The mating of purebreds of the same breed.
Quechua word for the color yellow.
A trait in which phenotypes are expressed in categories.
A trait in which phenotypes show continuous (numerical) expression.
A group of Indian peoples of Central Peru. Original founders of the Incan
civilization. Today, the Quechuan people are the primary shepherds of alpaca in
Hundred weight (metric system).
The joining of animals on an entirely random basis without regard to pedigree
The formation of a new combination of genes on a chromosome as a result of
These sires leave offspring in several, possibly all, of the cooperating
flocks. The offspring of the reference sires can then be compared with the
offspring of any other sires used in the same flock. Thus, the best males in
the whole of the group breeding scheme: 1) can be identified, with the help of
appropriate statistical programs; 2) can become available to the scheme as a
whole; and 3) can be used to breed the next generation of males.
(1) A measure of the strength of the relationship between repeated records
(repeated phenotypic values) for a trait in a population. (2) A measure of the
strength of the relationship between single performance records (phenotypic
values) and producing abilities for a trait in a population. (3) In dairy
publications, accuracy of prediction.
A mating system used to incorporate an allele or alleles existing in one
population into another population. An initial cross is followed by successive
generations of backcrossing combined with selection for the desired allele(s).
A trait for which individuals commonly have more than one performance record.
The rate at which newly selected individuals replace existing parents in a
The process that determines which individuals will become parents for the first
Animal coat color determined by a fairly uniform mix of colored fibers. For
example, the coat of a silver alpaca is actually made up of intermittent black
and white fibers.
Standard, historical sale unit of raw alpaca fiber which was made up of several
colors in agreed-upon percentages. The term is no longer used.
Breeding stock; animals whose role is to be a parent or, in other words, to
contribute genes to the next generation.
The separation of paired genes during germ cell formation.
The process that determines which individuals become parents, how many
offspring they may produce, and how long they remain in the breeding
Also accuracy of breeding value prediction. The measure of the strength of the
relationship between true breeding values and their predictions for a trait
Phenotypic values or other pieces of information that form the basis for
The difference between the mean selection criterion of those individuals
selected to be parents and the average selection criterion of all potential
parents, expressed in units of the selection criterion.
A linear combination of phenotypic information and weighting factors used for
genetic prediction when performance data comes from generally similar
contemporary groups. See also economic selection index.
(1) A measure of how particular breeders are in deciding which individuals are
selected. (2) The difference between the mean selection criterion of those
individuals selected to be parents and the average selection criterion of all
potential parents, expressed in standard deviation units.
The risk that the true breeding values of replacements will be significantly
poorer than expected.
The method a breeder chooses to select breeding stock.
A level of breeding value considered optimal in an absolute or practical sense.
SIMPLY INHERITED TRAIT:
A trait affected by only a few genes.
Selection for one trait.
A male parent.
A list of genetic predictions, accuracy values, and other useful information
about the sires in a breed.
Pinto; in the New Zealand color study, an alpaca with white and brown patches.
A continuous, untwisted strand or rope of parallel alpaca fibers approximately
uniform in cross-section, produced by the carding and drawing process. Carded
slivers are blended prior to combing in the manufacture of worsted yarn.
A gene which may control spots or color pattern on an alpaca. The existence of
a spotting gene has not been scientifically verified.
A mathematical measure of variation that can be thought of as an average
deviation from the mean. The square root of the variance.
The length of a lock or length of shorn alpaca fleece.
An organized independent group or cluster of individual fibers. A large number
of staples constitute a fleece.
A breed of alpaca characterized by lustrous locks of fleece that lay close to
the body, twisting vertically toward the ground.
Having two or more toes fused together.
TEMPORARY ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECT:
An environmental effect that influences a single performance record of an
individual but does not permanently affect the individual’s performance
potential for a repeated trait.
A paternal-breed sire used in a terminal sire crossbreeding system.
Also test mating. A mating designed to reveal the genotype of an individual for
a small number of loci.
A continuous, untwisted strand of combed alpaca fibers from which the shorter
fibers have been removed by combing.
Any observable or measurable characteristic of an individual.
TRAIT OF THE DAM:
A trait in which each progeny record is attributed to the dam, not the
TRAIT OF THE OFFSPRING:
A trait in which each record is attributed to an offspring, not to its dam.
An eighteen-month-old alpaca.
Any measure applied to an individual as opposed to a population. Examples are
phenotypic value, genotypic value, breeding value, and environmental effect.
The differences between animals within a given population.
In most animal breeding applications, the differences among individuals within
Native South American camelid, thought to be the ancestor of the domesticated
alpaca. Vicunas, which exhibit the finest natural fiber in the world, can
cross-breed with alpacas.
Quechua word for the color black.
Yarn made from fibers that are one to three inches in length and that have been
carded only. Fabrics of woolen yarn are characterized as being fuzzy, thick,
Yam spun from fibers three inches in length or longer that have been carded,
combed, and drawn. Combing machines straighten alpaca slivers, making the
individual fibers lie parallel.
Quechua word for the color white.
A cell formed from the union of male and female gametes. A zygote has a full
complement of genes – half from the sperm and half from the egg.
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