In a move aimed at boosting production and predicting the breeding value of desi cow more accurately, the government has undertake an ambitious project of genome sequencing of 40 breeds of indigenous cattle
The 'Cattle Genomics' project, to be carried out by the Department of Bio-technology under the Ministry of Science and Technology, will also see development of DNA chips of these breeds which will help understand various traits of the cattle specie.
"Genetic improvement of livestock through traditional selection for increasing productivity has major limitations. To overcome this, genomic selection has played a crucial role in livestock industry globally.
"At present genome sequencing has only been done for European species like Jersey and Holstein Friesians cows, but not for native cattle," said Mohd Aslam, senior scientist and Advisor with the DBT.
Another scientist associated with the programee said there are nearly 40 known breeds of cows in India with different traits. Some show high resistance to diseases while some have better milk production capacity.
"Genome selection will transform livestock breeding, which uses information on variations in DNA sequences between animals to predict the breeding value more accurately.
"The semen of these animals could be used for breeding cattle," the scientist said.
The project, which will initially do genome sequencing of cows, will also carry out a similar exercise on buffaloes.
Apart from it Harsh Vardhan also launched Biotech-Kisan initiative, where farmers, scientists and science institutions across the country will work as a network that will identify and help solve problems in a cooperative manner.
The scheme also includes fellowships for women farmers for training and education in farm practices.
The minister said, to start with the Biotech Kisan project will be launched in four agro-climatic zones in the country, namely East and West Himalayas, the Upper Gangetic region and Southern plateau and hills. There are 15 agro-climatic zones in the country.
"The Prime Minister intends to increase income of farmers by 2022 and these are initiatives which the government is taking to realise the goals," Vardhan said.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)