MACHO: Male alpaca used in a breeding program.
MAJOR GENE: A gene that has a readily discernible effect on a trait.
MATERNAL HYBRID VIGOR: Hybrid vigor for the maternal component of a trait.
MATERNAL TRAIT: A trait especially important in breeding females. Examples include fertility, freedom from dystocia, milk production, maintenance efficiency, and mothering ability.
MATING: The process that determines which (selected) males are bred to which (selected) females.
MATING SYSTEM: A set of rules for mating. MEAN: An arithmetic average.
MEDULLA: The hollow core found in coarse guard hair or kemp fibers, often found in the chest and underbelly portions of the fleece.
MEDULLATION: The degree to which a fleece contains medullated hair.
MEIOSIS: The process of germ cell formation.
MELANIN: Pigment in skin which determines skin and coat color. Melanin is found in two chemically different forms: eumelanin (which produces brown and black) and phaeomelanin (which produces yellow and red).
MELANOCYTES: An epidermal cell that produces melanin.
MENDELIAN SAMPLING: The random sampling of parental genes caused by segregation and independent assortment of genes during germ cell formation, and by random selection of gametes in the formation of the embryo.
MERIT: A praiseworthy quality.
MIGRATION: The movement of individuals into or out of a population.
MILLO: Quechua word for the color light fawn.
MODIFIER GENES: Genes that affect the expression of a primary gene or trait, often progressive in effect with a wide range of expression.
MULTICOLOR: An animal that incorporates more than one color in its coat.
MULTI-GENES: Genes that affect multicoloration in alpacas.
MULTIPLE ALLELES: More than two possible alleles at a locus.
MULTIPLE-SIRE PASTURE: A breeding pasture (or pen) containing more than one sire at a time.
MULTIPLE-TRAIT SELECTION: Selection for more than one trait.
MUTATION: Specifically point mutation. The process that alters DNA to create new alleles.
NATURAL SELECTION: Selection that occurs in nature independent of deliberate human control.
NATURAL SERVICE: Natural mating (as opposed to artificial insemination).
NEGATIVE ASSORTATIVE MATING: The mating of dissimilar individuals.
NO DOMINANCE: A form of dominance in which the expression of the heterozygote is exactly midway between the expressions of the homozygous genotypes.
NON-RANDOM MATING: Any mating system in which males are not randomly assigned to females.
NORMAL DISTRIBUTION: The statistical distribution that appears graphically as a symmetric, bell-shaped curve. In animal breeding, the values along the horizontal axis represent the levels of performance, breeding value, etc., that are being examined in a population; the height of the curve at any point represents the relative frequency of that value in the population.
NUCLEUS BREEDING SCHEME: A cooperative breeding program in which elite animals are concentrated in a nucleus herd or flock and superior germ plasm is then distributed among cooperative herds or flocks to the nucleus.
OUTBREEDING: Also outcrossing. The mating of unrelated individuals.
OUTCROSS BY PEDIGREE: The mating of individuals that are not related by pedigree; often called outcrossing.
OVERDOMINANCE: A form of dominance in which the expression of the heterozygote is outside the range defined by the expressions of the homozygous genotypes and most closely resembles the expression of the homozygous dominant genotype.
OWN PERFORMANCE DATA: Information on an individual's own phenotype.