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Application of Nuclear and Genomic Tools to Enable for the Selection of Animals with Enhanced Productivity Traits (D31028)

Camels in Mongolia (photo: M. Shamsuddin, IAEA)

CRP at a Glance

The World will be facing the challenge of manifolds increase in the production of food from animal origin to address the high demand that is expected to arise from population growth, income increases and urbanization. Breeding for robust animals with production systems optimised for exponential increase in productivity while retaining their adaptability to harsh environment and tolerance to tropical diseases could remain only option for the intensification of livestock productions with as minimum as possible environmental impacts. Crossbreeding zebu cattle with temperate taurine cattle has been tried in many countries for a rapid increase in the productivity but results were not always satisfactory. Lack of animal identification and not having a system in place for recording and analysing performance data to make appropriate breeding decision were identified to be main constraints that limited the enhancement of animal productivity by breeding, especially in developing countries.
The overall objective of the project is to enable Member States (MS), especially developing countries to use genomic tools for enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of genetic improvement of livestock. This project aims application of nuclear and nuclear-derived molecular techniques to addresses two major issues prevailing in developing countries and are directly associated with food security and livelihood improvement. Firstly, it will generate genomic data of performance recorded animals, which will enable breeders and farmers relate production traits with parentage and genetic admixture of animals leading to identification and selection of superior (both genotypically and phenotypically) sires for breeding by using artificial insemination. Secondly, 60CO will be applied to develop a radiation hybrid panel of camel and use that for whole genome sequencing and identification of breeding markers that nobody has done yet for camel.
As outputs the project is expected to leave behind an animal identification system in place and 1000 phenotype recorded animals per breed/population from each country, develop a gene bank of phenotype recorded animals in participating countries (potentially available for future genotyping), validate genetic tool(s) for testing parentage, relationship and admixture level, develop whole genome radiation hybrid panels for camel, develop a set of performance data for different genetic groups in different production systems and deliver SOPs, protocols and guidelines for continued animal genetic research and application of results in animal breeding.

Nuclear Component

Nuclear technique involving Cobalt 60 will be used to construct radiation hybrid panel for camels, which will be eventually utilised for whole genome mapping of camel. Further, iodine 125 will be used in radioimmunoassay of hormones in milk or blood of cattle and buffaloes to monitor the efficiency of AI services whose improvement remains the major focus of the CRP.

Cows with calves in Brazil (photo: M. Shamsuddin, IAEA)

Buffaloes in Bramaputra Basin, Bangladesh (photo: M. Shamsuddin, IAEA)

CRP Overall Objective

To enable MS, especially developing countries to use genomic tools for enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of genetic improvement of livestock.

Specific Research Objectives

  1. To strengthen animal identification, pedigree and performance recording system in large ruminants under AI programmes and camels
  2. To characterize sires under AI programmes for whole genome variations, as a basis for future selection
  3. To implement parentage testing, performance recording and admixture analysis of females bred by AI sires
  4. To develop and characterize radiation hybrid panels for mapping camel genome
  5. To strengthen research capacity of animal scientists in developing countries
  6. To network among animal scientists from developed and developing countries

Expected research outcomes

  1. Genomic tools are applied to improve livestock productivity
  2. Strengthened genetic improvement in AI systems
  3. Farmers improve productivity through better access to information about animals’ performance
  4. Standardized animal identification and data recording procedures are in place for implementation of genetic improvement programmes
  5. Improved genome sequence assembly to enhance genetic improvement of camels

Criteria for CRP participation

The CRP is mainly open to institutions that have access to artificial insemination programmes for cattle or buffalo. In addition, these institutions should have:

  1. Local and/or external support either through funding from other bodies or through agreements with local partners, as well as links with national livestock development authorities.
  2. Transportation capabilities to field sites and the necessary resources to conduct field work, to perform data and sample collection, and to do computerized data recording and analysis. It is expected that the team will be able to monitor a minimum of 1000 females per breed or population plus available sires.
  3. Laboratories for molecular genetic analyses and basic expertise on DNA based technologies.

How to join the CRP?

Please submit your Proposal for Research Contract or Agreement directly to the IAEA’s Research Contracts Administration Section, using the form templates (http://cra.iaea.org/cra/forms.html) on the CRA web site (preferably via email): research.contracts@iaea.org. For further details please feel free to contact project officers (M. Mohammed Shamsuddin, M.Shamsuddin@iaea.org or Mr Mario Garcia Podesta, M.Garcia-Podesta@iaea.org).