Livestock genetics flagship

Building on lessons in phase 1, more research into development will be undertaken to incorporate the new genomics approaches increasingly being used in the livestock commercial sector. Innovation platform approaches are at the core of two of the main flagship projects, the African Chicken Genetic Gains (ACGG) and the African Dairy Genetic Gains (ADGG), both funded by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. They will allow identification of knowledge gaps, which may be addressed in the short term through targeted research projects. Community based breeding programs (CBBP) for small ruminants are already well advanced and through joint work with the Livestock Livelihoods and Agri-Food Systems flagship, we will consider how this strategy can become a component of integrated interventions. Genetics interventions in ACGG and ADGG will be combined with those in health and feedings, maximizing the outputs of genetic gains breeding approaches.

Basic research will be undertaken by the recently established Centre of Tropical Livestock Genetics and Health (CTLGH), a joint venture between ILRI, SRUC and the University of Edinburgh and also funded by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and DFID, which will allow us in some cases to integrate immediately the latest genomics development into our research activities, and in others to pilot and explore the potential of promising new genomics technologies for smallholder and pastoral livestock communities.

The Livestock Genetics flagship’s objectives are:

  • Identify and promote the most appropriate existing livestock breeds for systems and value chains (including promotion of breed substitution as relevant).
  • Develop improved breeds, capitalizing on recent advances in genomic and reproductive technologies (within-breed improvement, cross-breeding).
  • Develop effective delivery systems (public–private partnerships, community breeding schemes).
  • Seek improvements in relevant policies and institutional arrangements.

The flagship:

  • Combines genetics with appropriate health and feeds to improve livestock productivity.
  • Aims to ensure all stakeholders in livestock production systems, keepers and consumers can benefit from better livestock genetics.
  • Identifies and promotes the most appropriate livestock breeds for specific value chains and systems.
  • Develops improved breeds, capitalizing on new opportunities created by advances in genomic and reproductive technologies (within-breed improvement, cross-breeding).
  • Creates effective delivery systems for improved livestock genetics (such as public–private partnerships and community breeding schemes).
  • Improves policies and institutional arrangements to maximize the long-term effectiveness of genetic interventions.

Contact flagship leader:  Karen Marshall, ILRI

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