The classic definition of genetic improvement of animals states that it shall ''... consist of the application of biological, economic and mathematical principles with the object of discovering optimum strategies to exploit the genetic variation existing within an animal species, particularly in order to maximize its merit.''
The alpaca is an animal that grows fine hair and its fibre is classed as ''noble'' together with cashmere, angora, camel-hair and some others. However, its price on the international market is lower than those of the other noble fibres. One reason for this phenomenon is the immense variation existing among the different grades of alpaca fibre, all generally encountered in the same animal. There are coarse fibres of up to 40 microns average diameter, and very fine ones, whose average diameter may be as low as 14,5 microns.
The genetic improvement carried out at the Pacomarca ranch is aimed at establishing a type of animal that retains the best fineness of alpaca fibre but, at the same time, considerably reducing the variability and eliminating as far as possible the guard hairs, or fibres coarser than 30 microns diameter, as well as avoiding the contaminating fibres of contrasting tone (kemps).
In order to accomplish this, the most modern technological instruments are used together with state-of-the-art genetic methodology to achieve the objective and, later on, enabling the desired animals to be distributed among the thousands of Andean alpaca herdsmen. The advances made to date are outstanding.