Brasil stands out among the ten world's largest sheep herds, and has presented, in the last years, an expressive increase in the number of animals, especially in the Southeast, Midwest and Northeast regions of the country, producing mainly meat. In the opposite way, the South region, considered a reference in wool and meat production is facing an important decline of its herd. This change in the profile of the Brazilian sheep production has raised the need for developing of new genetic groups that combine high performance traits as well as adaptation to tropical conditions. The aim of this study is to develop a methodology and to analyse wool and skin characteristics of animals from different genetic groups, identifying those more adapted. Fleece samples of 10 Santa Inês, Ile de France, Texel and Dorper and their crossbreds ½ Dorper + ½ Santa Inês, ½ Texel + ½ Santa Inês and ½ Ilê de France + ½ Santa Inês lambs will be analysed for: number of fibres, length, type (wool or hair), density, and fibre inclination. The colour and thickness of each animal fleece will be also evaluated. Winter samples were collected in July 2014 and stored for the analyses. Summer samples will be collected in December 2014. The samples will be analysed according to methodology to be adapted from Silva (2000) for cattle. These methodologies will be then used at the analyses of other genetic groups in the subsequent years of the project.
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