Building upon the launch of INDUSCHIP, a customized genotyping chip for indigenous cattle and their crosses, Anand-based National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) has now developed world's first complete parent-wise genome assembly of buffalo.
As per Dilip Rath, Chairman, NDDB, the genome assembly would also provide impetus for implementing genomic selection programme in buffaloes to achieve faster genetic progress in Indian buffalo population. Currently, buffaloes contribute to more than 50 per cent of India's milk production.
The estimated population of buffaloes in the world is 224.4 million, of which 219 million (97.58%) are in Asia. India has 113.3 million buffaloes, and they comprise approximately 50.5 per cent of the total world buffalo population.
According to Rath, buffaloes are more resistant to ticks and certain diseases. In comparison to cattle, buffalo milk contains high fat percentage.
"Buffaloes being most widely reared in the developing countries for milk production, developing a reference genome will help in deciphering biological differences and faster genetic improvement of buffaloes," he stated, while adding that the genome shall be India's contribution to genetic improvement of buffalo in the world.