THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The lack of good milch animals have been the major reason behind low milk production in the state. But this is going to be history now, with the setting up of the Genomics lab. The laboratory has been set up by the Kerala Livestock Development Board to select good breeds of bulls based on their genetic coding.
Minister for Agriculture and Animal Husbandry, K P Mohanan inaugurated the Centre for Applied Livestock Genomics (CALG) at Kudapannakunnu on Thursday. The centre will help in early selection of breeding animals.
Selecting bulls for breeding is a long drawn process. On an average 40 young bulls are put to progeny test annually and finally 4 bulls which produce daughters with highest milk yield are selected as ‘proven’ bulls. At present, it takes around 10 to 11 years to brand a bull as proven but the fallout is that they get culled by then.
Hence, due to the long delay, instead of the proven bulls, their progeny are used for breeding programme. With technological advancement, however, even sons of proven bulls have to pass genome test to be considered for breeding. “Genomic selection, signals a new era in genetic improvement and will allow us to do a faster job of improving productivity,” said Dr Jose James, managing director KLDB.
The lab will help in identifying whether the bulls are of good genetic variety at an early age. Over the last decade the state has shown 3.4% improvement in productivity because of improvement in genetics and management. With genomic selection higher rates of annual genetic improvement cna be expected, said Dr Jose.
With genomic testing, it is now possible to screen more young bulls before they are selected for artificial insemination. This will enable the selection of the best for the progeny testing program.
The lab, which has been set up at a cost of Rs 11 crore, can be used for other functions. It can act as a referral laboratory for frozen semen stations in the southern states in order to screen carriers of genetic diseases in breeding bulls. The infrastructure can also be used for vetero-legal and forensic aspects. Another area where the laboratory could support is in developing good breeds of goats. Information on genes affecting fecundity of Malabari goat is not yet explored, said Jose.
Scientists from premiere institutes like National Dairy Research Institute, Karnal (Haryana), Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology (RGCBT) and Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) are associated technically with the establishment of the laboratory.
Stepping stone to White Revolution
- Centre for Applied Livestock Genomics (CALG) inaugurated at Kudappanakunnu
- The lab will study the genetic profile of the bulls selected for breeding
- Selecting younger bulls with good genes for breeding will help in getting cows with higher milk yield
- The lab has been set up in association with National Dairy Research Institute, Karnal (Haryana) Rajiv Gandhi Centre for - Biotechnology (RGCBT) and Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI)
What is genome?
A genome is an organism’s complete set of DNA, including all of its genes. Each genome contains all of the information needed to build and maintain that organism. Bovine genome is made up of 30 chromosomes and contains about 300 crore base pairs