Application of Nuclear and Genomic Tools to Enable the Selection of Animals with Enhanced Productivity Traits

Closed for proposals

Project Type

Coordinated Research Project

Project Code




Approved Date

9 December 2015

Start Date

31 May 2016

Expected End Date

30 November 2021

Participating Countries

South Africa
Sri Lanka
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland


The World will be facing the challenge of manifolds increase in the production of food from animal origin to address the high demand that is expected to arise from population growth, income increases and urbanization. Breeding for robust animals with production systems optimised for exponential increase in productivity while retaining their adaptability to harsh environment and tolerance to tropical diseases could remain only option for the intensification of livestock productions with as minimum as possible environmental impacts. Crossbreeding zebu cattle with temperate taurine cattle has been tried in many countries for a rapid increase in the productivity but results were not always satisfactory. Lack of animal identification and not having a system in place for recording and analysing performance data to make appropriate breeding decision were identified to be main constraints that limited the enhancement of animal productivity by breeding, especially in developing countries. This project aims the application of nuclear and nuclear-derived molecular techniques to addresses two major issues prevailing in developing countries and are directly associated with food security and livelihood improvement. Firstly, it will generate genomic data of performance recorded animals, which will enable breeders and farmers relate production traits with parentage and genetic admixture of animals leading to identification and selection of superior (both genotypically and phenotypically) sires for breeding by using artificial insemination. Secondly, 60CO will be applied to develop a radiation hybrid panel of camel and use that for whole genome sequencing and identification of breeding markers that nobody has done yet for camel.  As outputs the project is expected to leave bind an animal identification system in place and 1000 phenotype recorded animals per breed/population from each country, develop a gene bank of phenotype recorded animals in participating countries (potentially available for future genotyping), validate genetic tool(s) for testing parentage, relationship and admixture level, develop whole genome radiation hybrid panels for camel, develop a set of performance data for different genetic groups in different production systems and deliver standard operating procedures (SOPs), protocols and guidelines for continued animal genetic research and application of results in animal breeding. The project will be running five years and will involve 10 Research Contract (RC) holders from developing countries, three Technical Contract (TC) holders and four Research Agreement (RA) holders from laboratories engaged in high level animal genetics and breeding research and field application. The project budget is estimated to €615,000.-.


To enable MS, especially developing countries to use genomic tools for enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of genetic improvement of livestock.

Specific objectives

Strengthen research capacity of animal scientists in developing countries.

To strengthen animal identification, pedigree and performance recording system in large ruminants under AI programmes and camels

To develop and characterize radiation hybrid panels for mapping camel genome

To implement parentage testing, performance recording and admixture analysis of females bred by AI sires

Networking among animal scientists from developed and developing countries.

To characterize sires under AI programmes for whole genome variations, as a basis for future selection

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