HYDERABAD: A finding by scientists from the Hyderabad-based Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) in collaboration with University of Edinburgh has opened up the possibility of using gene-editing technology to improve the productivity and health of cattle, including buffaloes which play an important role in low-income agriculture-based countries such as India.
The scientists from CCMB, who have been studying genetics of water buffalo and created tools for studying the genomes of domestic buffalo as well, have found that the genes in these two species have evolved over the years in due to domestication.
Similarity has also been observed due the impact of domestication on genetic makeup of other cattle across the world.
A similar impact of domestication has been observed on genes which are associated with milk yield, disease resistance, stature, and birth weight. These genes can be edited, in order to enhance them.
Professor Satish Kumar of CCMB, who was associated with the study said, “Studies as this open up ways of finding genes linked with beneficial traits in different species of animals. Genome-editing allows propagation of those genes selectively and improve the productivity and health of animals in low and middle-income countries.”
CCMB Director Dr Rakesh Mishra said, “Millions of farmers rely on buffaloes and cattle in India. Choosing the appropriate genes through gene-editing or traditional selective breeding - both allow for an effective way of raising healthier animals.”