At Pacomarca, with complete information on 5000 animals accumulated during more than ten years stored in the PACO PRO program, genetic appraisal is carried out on all its animals. This is the world's most advanced program for the quantitative genetic improvement of alpacas.
Genetic appraisal relates the genealogy of all the alpacas to numerical values corresponding to the phenotypic expressions of each alpaca, eliminating the variations that might be caused by the environment, finally to obtain an absolute value for each alpaca. The greater the quantity of generational data, the more reliable the prediction of the characteristics displayed by the coming generations. The method used is the BLUP (Basic Linear Unbiased Prediction).
In simple terms, genetic appraisal consists of compiling numerical data on the characteristics, which cannot be many at the same time, for which it is desired to select the animals. In the case of the alpaca, attention is mostly given to information related to the fibre (fineness, standard deviation and coefficient of variation of fibre diameter, incidence of guard hairs). Accurate records must also be kept of the animals' kinship. With this information, the BLUP program is run and the information is systematized in such a way that environmental factors are discarded while those referring to genetics are retained, enabling a value to be assigned to each animal. This value, whose level of veracity will depend on the number and age of the data at the disposal of the system, could quite accurately predict the specific characteristics that might be passed from one generation to the next.
An agreement with the Universidad Complutense de Madrid made it possible to start this project in 2008, improving the process of the selection of animals for reproduction and conducting the crossings with greater precision and efficiency; this accelerates inter-generational genetic gain and reduces the time taken to achieve the “PACOMARCA ALPACA”.