Cloud-Lines Stud Advisor uses the BCAS methodology to help preserve areas of genetic uniqueness within a closed population, thereby preserving genetic diversity within a breed. It achieves this using 2 key metrics: Coefficient of Inbreeding (COI) and Mean-Kinship (MK). The COI figures for existing animals in a database will not change unless new historic parentage is added to the data. The MK values, on the other hand, change as new animals are born/die and/or are added to the database.
COI is simply a measure of how much inbreeding an animal has in it’s breeding history. A figure of 25% for COI, based on 2 generations of data for example, would indicate the animal is the product of a brother/sister mating or parent/child mating.
Mean-Kinship is slightly different, in that it’s a measure of where a living animal fits within a population, according to the makeup of it’s breeding. It is not the same as COI. An animal with a very low MK value could be thought of as particularly rare breeding within the breed, whereas something with a high MK value could be thought of as having fairly average/common breeding within the breed. Neither of these are good or bad, it’s simply a measure which gives us a means by which to preserve that diversity of breeding – or genetic diversity!
In simple terms, the BCAS methodology behind Stud Advisor (formerly called Sparks) groups the population into fuzzy “bands” of Mean-Kinship values. It achieves this using the RAG colour coding system within the Stud Advisor reports. When 1st setting up a Cloud-Lines package, an MK threshold must be set. This MK Threshold is the number which determines the size of the fuzzy “bands” within the population. An MK Threshold is chosen in consultation, often with a breed conservation expert.
Once an MK Threshold is set, The Stud Advisor reports apply the following rules, to achieve the colour coded matches:
For an breed MK threshold of X, and a Female's MK value of Y, the Stud Advisor colours indicate -
A Male who’s MK value is in the range Y-X to Y+X, and where the offspring COI of that mating is less than or equal to the breed average COI = GREEN
A Male who’s MK value is in the range Y-2X to Y+2X, and where the offspring COI of that mating is less than or equal to the breed average COI = AMBER
A Male who’s MK value is in the range Y-X to Y+X, BUT where the offspring COI of that mating is greater than the breed average COI = RED
This ensures that animals of similar breeding relative to the whole population (similar MK), mate together, preserving genetic diversity within the breed, whilst also seeking to reduce the rate of COI rise in the population.
A final note - the term "Kinship" is often used to describe the outcome of a breeding match. In this context "Kinship" is simply a COI value for an animal which has not yet been born. so Kinship = predicted COI, whereas Mean-Kinship = Make-up of breeding relative to the whole population.
Cloud-Lines Stud Advisor helps your breed & organisation meet Target 2.5 of the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals - FAO Target 2.5 states that nations should "preserve genetic diversity within plants and animals".