Boran cattle grazing at Kapiti Ranch, in Kenya (photo credit: ILRI).
‘Plans are under way to develop a cow that is resistant to trypanosomiasis at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI).
‘The disease is known as nagana in animals and sleeping sickness in human beings.
‘“Since animals carry parasites that cause trypanosomiasis, a resistant cow will thus improve animal and human health in Kenya,” says Dr Steve Kemp, a scientist at ILRI.
In the first step of the project, ILRI scientists have successfully developed a cloned Boran calf named Tumaini. The project leader, Dr Kemp, says that it is healthy and is being raised at Kenya’s ILRI’s research facility.
‘In the second phase of the project, the researchers will develop a new cloned Boran cow, with a gene that will make it resistant to trypanosomiasis.
‘The gene originates from baboons that are naturally resistant to trypanosomiasis. And as such, these primates do not harbour parasites that cause sleeping sickness in humans and nagana in cattle.
Dr Kemp notes that the project is timely as it will offer a sustainable solution for the trypanosomiasis problem in the country. . . .
According to Dr. Kemp, efforts aimed at developing a vaccine against trypanosomiasis in the last 40 years have not borne fruit.
“So the development of the trypanosomiasis resistant cattle is the best option,” he says.
Read the whole article at Business Daily (Kenya): ILRI seeks lasting solution for the tsetse fly menace, 1 Oct 2013.