‘Scientists in Nairobi have discovered a new set of genetic markers in African cattle that signal beneficial characteristics, with a view to harnessing them for future generations.’—Nature Genetics
Twitter Moment highlights of ‘Incubated Worlds’, a unique art+poultry facility launched at ILRI’s campus in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on 26 Apr 2018.
ILRI and Flemish conceptual artist Koen Vanmechelen joined forces last year to strengthen research into more resistant and productive poultry for Africa south of the Sahara. Today, the research center and associated poultry farm “Incubated Worlds” opens in the presence of Gebregziabher Gebreyohannes, state minister, ministry of agriculture and livestock. Vanmechelen wants to help improve the lives of local communities through this crossing project.
Researchers in Ethiopia are embarking on a quest to create the perfect chicken for African farmers with an unlikely ally—a Belgian conceptual artist who has spent 20 years crossbreeding indigenous chickens, from China and Egypt to Senegal and Cuba.
According to Reuters, the Gates Foundation will pump $40m into research for higher-yielding dairy cows, as well as chickens that lay better quality eggs, livestock vaccines and ‘supercrops’ that can withstand droughts or disease.
During the visit Ms Mordaunt also announced plans to develop the Centre for Tropical Livestock Genetics and Health, which is based in both Edinburgh and Nairobi. The centre uses the most recent scientific advances in genetics and genomics that are being used by farmers in the UK and apply these to help smallholder dairy and poultry farmers in sub-Saharan Africa.
‘Visiting Brisbane in November for the International Tropical Agriculture Conference for 2017, Director General of the International Livestock Research Institute Dr. Jimmy Smith discussed with Devex a range of new and exciting programs his organization is delivering to help create climate and disease resistant livestock for Africa.’
Appolinaire Djikeng has been appointed director of the Centre for Tropical Livestock Genetics and Health, a partnership between the University of Edinburgh, Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) and ILRI.
The genomes of Africans and people of recent African descent house a huge amount of diversity that scientists have only begun to explore.
The African Chicken Genetic Gains project is on a mission to bring ‘more productive chickens to African smallholders’. Led by ILRI, and backed by the deep pockets of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the African Chicken Genetic Gains project aims to improve the genetic makeup of African chickens. The initiative, which is initially being rolled out in Ethiopia, Nigeria and Tanzania, is part of what the Microsoft founder has called his ‘big bet’ on chickens, which also includes a promise to donate 100,000 of the birds to families and communities in the world’s poorest nations. . . .