‘Genomic time travel’ for better African cattle—New paper describes a ‘rich mosaic of traits’ and an ‘evolutionary jolt’

Scientists from ILRI,
Korea and other partners
have discovered
a new set of genetic markers
in African cattle that signal
beneficial characteristics,
with a view to harnessing them
for future generations.

‘In a multi-national collaborative effort, scientists have announced the discovery of a new set of detailed genetic markers in African cattle that are associated with valuable traits, such as heat and drought tolerance, the capacity to control inflammation and tick infestations, and resistance to devastating livestock diseases like trypanosomiasis.

‘They discovered, via genome sequencing, how indigenous cattle were bred with the Asian breeds, with emerging animals benefitting from traits of both: the ability to endure humid climates as well as the hot dry climes of the Horn of Africa.

The sturdy Red Fulani of West Africa produce milk, meat and manure
for their keepers with only limited amounts of feed and water
(photo credit: ILRI: Stevie Mann).

‘. . . “We’re fortunate that pastoralists are such skilled breeders,” Hanotte said. “They left a valuable roadmap for efforts underway at ILRI and elsewhere to balance livestock productivity in Africa with resilience and sustainability.”
“You can see from studying the genomes of Indigenous cattle that breeding for environmental adaptation has been the key to successful livestock production in Africa,” said Kemp. “And that has to be the factored in our future efforts to develop more productive, more sustainable animals. If the goal is pure productivity, you’re doomed to fail.”
‘Institutions involved in the research include the Addis Ababa- and Nairobi-based International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), Seoul National University (Republic of Korea), Rural Development Administration (RDA) Republic of Korea, University of Khartoum (Sudan), The Centre of Tropical Livestock Genetics and Health (CTLGH, Scotland), Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (Sweden), and the University of Nottingham (United Kingdom).
‘These research findings were published in the October issue of Nature Genetics.’

Read the whole news article by Mandy Parrett: ‘Genomic time travel’ for better cattle, New Food Magazine, 1 Oct 2020.

Read the editorial article in this issue (30 Sep 2020) of Nature Genetics, in which the ILRI-partner paper made the journal’s cover: Stories in the DNA.

Read the scientific paper by Kim, K., Kwon, T., Dessie, T. (ILRI), Dong Ahn Yoo, Okeyo, M.A. (ILRI), Jisung Jang, Samsun Sung, Saet Byeol Lee, Salim, B., Jaehoon Jung, Heesu Jeong, Mekuriaw, G., Tijjani, A. (ILRI), Dajeong Lim, Seoae Cho, Sung Jong Oh, Hak-Kyo Lee, Jaemin Kim, Choongwon Jeong, Kemp, S. (ILRI), Hanotte, O. (ILRI) and Heebal Kim. The mosaic genome of indigenous African cattle as a unique genetic resource for African pastoralism. Nature Genetics, 28 Sep 2020.

Read other news clippings about this new ILRI Nature Genetics paper
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Agence France Presse—English: African cattle bred for toughness tested by climate change
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Africa News Net
Barrons (UK)
British Journal
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Agence France Presse- French: Le bétail africain a prospéré grâce à l’apport d’un cousin asiatique
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Le Figaro (France)
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AllAfrica.com: Africa: New Research Set to Produce More Productive, Sustainable Cattle
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Street Journal (Ireland)
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