Retriever and pointer: Software to evaluate inbreeding and genetic management in captive populations

Jack J. Windig*, Ina Hulsegge

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The Retriever and Pointer software has been developed for genetic management of (small) captive populations The Retriever program uses as input pedigree data and extracts data on population structure that determine inbreeding rates such as skewness of sire contributions. Levels and rates of inbreeding and kinship and effective population sizes are determined as well. Data on population structure can be used as input for the Pointer program. This program uses stochastic simulation to evaluate a population and provides expected levels and rates of inbreeding and kinship, and optionally allelic diversity. The user can simulate different options for genetic management such as sire restrictions, restrictions on inbreeding levels, mean kinships and breeding circles. Both Retriever and Pointer can analyze populations with subpopulations and different rates of exchange between them. Although originally devised for dogs, the software can be, and has been, used for any captive population including livestock and zoo populations, and a number of examples are provided. The pointer software is also suitable in education where students may generate their own populations and evaluate effects of different population structures and genetic management on genetic diversity. Input is provided via a graphical user interface. The software can be downloaded for free.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1332
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 7 May 2021


  • Animal breeding
  • Conservation
  • Genetic management
  • Genetic resources
  • Inbreeding
  • Software


Dive into the research topics of 'Retriever and pointer: Software to evaluate inbreeding and genetic management in captive populations'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this