Scientists create gene bank for endangered livestock breeds

KARNAL: Scientists at the National Bureau of Animal Genetic Resources (NBAGR) here have started preserving somatic cells of all livestock breeds, the number of which is declining, in its national gene bank.

Scientists create gene bank for endangered livestock breeds

Parveen Arora

Tribune News Service

Karnal, July 9

Scientists at the National Bureau of Animal Genetic Resources (NBAGR) here have started preserving somatic cells of all livestock breeds, the number of which is declining, in its national gene bank. The bank has been established with the aim to conserve all livestock breeds and share good germplasm with other states.

Earlier, the scientists were preserving frozen semen, DNA and epididymal sperms of all livestock breeds for future use. They have now started preserving the somatic cells of endangered breeds. The scientists claim the somatic cell banking will help in the conservation of livestock breeds, which require immediate attention.

At present, the NBAGR gene bank has the cryo-preserved semen of 47 breeds of seven species, including cattle, buffalo, goat, sheep, camel, equine and yak. It has the DNA samples of around 180 registered breeds of the country.

“After the success in preserving frozen semen, DNA and epididymal sperms, we have started preserving the somatic cell of breeds whose number is declining at an alarming rate. So far, we have collected and preserved the somatic cells of nine breeds, including double-hump camel, Manipuri horse, Kutchi camel, Marwari horse, mithun, Ladakhi yak, Ladakhi donkey, Kharai camel and Kachchhi donkey,” said Dr Rajeev AK Aggarwal, principal scientist and in charge of the national gene bank, NBAGR.

Dr Aggarwal asserted that in coming day, they would preserve the somatic cell of all registered breeds by cloning.

“With the changing environment, farmers’ requirement and other reasons, such as increasing mechanism in agricultural practices, the population of some livestock breeds is declining,” he said.

He emphasised conservation of indigenous breeds as they could survive in much harsh environmental conditions and had better efficiency of feed utilisation and disease resistance.

Somatic cell collection

After the success in preserving frozen semen, DNA and epididymal sperms, we have started preserving the somatic cell of breeds whose number is declining at an alarming rate. So far, we have collected and preserved the somatic cell of nine breeds. Dr Rajeev AK Aggarwal, in charge, National gene bank, NBAGR

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