Scientists will use funds from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to look at how genetic information can improve the health and productivity of farmed animals in tropical climates. The institutions in Scotland and Africa where the researchers are based are also making additional contributions, taking the total funding pot to £20 million over the next five years.
The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) is working with partners to understand the breed composition of dairy and indigenous cattle in Tanzania and to find the appropriate dairy cattle genotypes that will help farmers identify and keep dairy breeds that are appropriately matched to farms.
‘Archaeologists have long known that people started to domesticate animals for food at the dawn of agriculture in the Fertile Crescent (the curve of land across the Middle East from the Mediterranean to the Persian Gulf) about 10,000 years ago. But details of the complex pathways through which improved livestock spread across Europe and Asia are only now emerging, as genomic technology makes it practical to compare the DNA of hundreds of animals across continents. . . . ‘A Chinese consortium led the sheep study in collaboration with the International Livestock Research Institute in Nairobi; it is published in the journal Molecular Biology and Evolution.
New Yorker cover by Tom Gauld (via Pinterest). The following fascinating recent history of the chicken in America is taken from a 2014 essay by Andrew Lawler published in Aeon (check out this online science and cultural magazine, founded in London in 2012, if you haven’t yet): Chicken of tomorrow: How a massive breeding contest turned …
A White House climate initiative has boosted a quixotic search for the “cow of the future”, a next-generation creature whose greenhouse gas emissions would be cut by anti-methane pills, burp scanners and gas backpacks.
Alexandra Jorge just left ILRI to return to her native Mozambique. In this exit interview she reflects on her years at ILRI and activities of its forage genebank.
Work in the genetic resources program at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (photo on Flickr by CIAT/Neil Palmer). Are promising genetically modified food crops doomed to stay in greenhouses? What about crops whose bits (of bits) of their genomes have been ‘precision edited’ with the help of new genome engineering tools (Talens and Crispr) …