In a few cases, the value of genetic resources can be measured directly. Mitchell et al. (1982) report an attempt to measure the value of genetic contributions to pig improvement in Great Britain. Using standard experimental protocols, they compared improved pigs with pigs from control groups to determine the heritability of important characteristics and to isolate the genetic contributions to improved performance.10 Using these measures, they estimated the costs and benefits of pig improvement. This approach could have greater applicability: for most crops and livestock, there are abundant experimental data showing the productivity gains associated with genetic improvement. Although on-farm yield gains may not perfectly match experimental yield gains, controlled experiments offer one way to identify the genetic components of productivity gains.
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