Research Projects

Genetic resources of Russian farm animals the state of endangeredness and ethno-ecological, technical and social opportunities for conservation

Cow In the large region of the Russian Federation, there are several unique cattle and sheep breeds which have adapted to the marginal circumstances and have a role as custodian of local traditions and in the maintenance of traditional landscape. About half of the contemporary Russian cattle and sheep breeds are categorized as endangered. However, the local breeds facing extinction have a biological, social, economic, cultural and scientific value.


Their extinction will lead to loss of genetic diversity within the domesticated species. The process of decollectivisation and dramatic demographic changes currently taking place in the Russian rural areas will have a great influence on the rural societies, and thus on the breed diversity in Russia as well on the future diversity of locally adapted Russian animal breeds.

In the present study, the genetic value of local Russian cattle and sheep breeds for the maintenance of genetic variation within domesticated cattle and sheep will be investigated using a molecular genetic approach. Socio-cultural and economic environment of genetically unique breeds will be assessed. Parallel to the genetic and socio-cultural studies, environmental and demographic factors will be investigated in the respective rural societies to understand the preconditions for the survival of the breeds in their original sites. Based on the genetic, socio-cultural and demographic studies, recommendations for a conservation program of cattle and sheep genetic resources in the Russian Federation will be given.

Project Publication 2009: Sakha Ynaga. Cattle of the Yakuts. Edited by Leo Granberg, Juha Kantanen and Katriina Soini. Academia Scientiarum Fennica, 2009. ISBN 978-951-41-1032-0. Sarja: Suomalaisen tiedeakatemian toimituksia; 355.
The book is distributed by Tiedekirja.

Project leader: Prof. Asko Mäki-Tanila, MTT Agrifood Research Finland, 31600 Jokioinen tel. +358 (0)3 4188 3602, fax +358 (0)3 4188 3618, asko.maki-tanila[at],

Duration: 2003-2007

Leo Granberg, University of Helsinki, Aleksanteri Institute, leo.granberg[at]
Ilma Grigaliunaite, MTT Agrifood Research Finland, ilma.grigaliunaite[at]
Juha Kantanen, MTT Agrifood Research Finland, juha.kantanen[at]
Petri Kapuinen, MTT Agrifood Research Finland, petri.kapuinen[at]
Inna Kopoteva, University of Helsinki, Aleksanteri Institute, inna.kopoteva[at]
Sirpa Kurppa, MTT Agrifood Research Finland, sirpa.kurppa[at]
Eeva Pääkkönen, University of Helsinki, Aleksanteri Institute, eeva.paakkonen[at]
Pentti Ruokokoski, MTT Agrifood Research Finland, pentti.ruokokoski[at]
Katriina Soini, MTT Agrifood Research Finland, katriina.soini[at]
Miika Tapio, MTT Agrifood Research Finland, miika.tapio[at]

Funding: Academy of Finland

Project description: