a1 Scottish Agricultural College, West Mains Road, Edinburgh EH9 3JG
a2 Roslin Institute (Edinburgh), Roslin, Midlothian EH25 9PS
The principles of genetic improvement apply to hill sheep and cattle in just the same way as they apply to other livestock species. However, the breeding goals often differ, and will continue to change in the light of new economic and political circumstances. Also, there are particular problems of implementing breeding programmes in some of these areas, which do not apply to other livestock species. In this paper we aim to review or discuss (i) the current structure of the livestock industry in the hills and uplands, (ii) strategies for genetic improvement, (iii) the results of relevant selection experiments and industry breeding schemes, (iv) some of the difficulties of implementing breeding programmes and possible solutions, and (v) new opportunities for the genetic improvement of animals in the hills and uplands.