Identification, characterization and documentation of native angr
The Bureau has characterized and documented 202 native breeds of livestock and poultry since its inception. Through the registration of new breeds, about 24 million native livestock population has been inducted into the descript category till date. The registered breeds have been notified for the first time in 2019 by the Government of India to provide statutory recognition of the native germplasm. Five Gazette notifications have been released till date for 202 breeds and 2 chicken lines.
- Survey methodology for indigenous AnGR characterization has been developed.Breed descriptor formats have been developed for Indian cattle, buffalo, sheep, goat, camel, horse, donkey, pig, dog, chicken and goose breeds. Standard karyotypes of all livestock species are available.
- Microsatellite panels standardized for molecular diversity assessment of Indian livestock species. Phenotypic information on 230+breeds/populations and genetic diversity information on 200+ breeds/populations are available.
- Candidate genes affecting production, reproduction, and adaptation traits were identified and evaluated in several livestock breeds.
Indigenous dog breeds registered for the first time in india
Dog (Canis familiaris) is one of the earliest species, domesticated by the human being mainly used for shepherding, guarding, herding, hunting, sniffing, sport and companion. Some of the native dogs are being maintained as sniffers by Army and other Security forces. Although native dog populations are utilized for different purposes including agriculture, they were not recognized as native breeds. NBAGR initiated research projects for their characterization. Hon’ble Prime Minister of India in his “15th Mann Ki Baat-2.0” on 30th August 2020 praised the Indian dog populations including Mudhol Hound, Rajapalayam, and Chippiparai, and acknowledged the ICAR for initiating the research on dogs. Right away, ICAR has given the authority to ICAR-NBAGR for the registration of dog germplasm and on 16th September 2020 the bureau registered for the first time three native dog breeds of the country. All three breeds were also notified through the Official Gazette (No. 3589 (S.O. 4086(E)) on 13th November 2020 by the Govt. of India. The registration of these breeds would provide identity and protection to the valuable dog genetic resources and facilitate its access to genetic improvement and utilization.
- In-situ conservation increased the population of threatened native breeds: Four native breeds- Poonchi sheep of Jammu & Kashmir, Kharai camel of Gujarat, Harringhata Black chicken of West Bengal and Ankleshwar chicken of Gujarat were conserved in their native tract during 2017-2020 under the Network Project.
- Gaushala-based model forin situ conservation of native breeds: Sustainable improvement vis-à-vis conservation of indigenous Haryana and Sahiwal cattle breeds done under a pilot project in two Guashalas of Haryana.
- Cryopreservation of germplasm of native breeds:
Conservation of native breeds of livestock and poultry species
Semen: 11465 frozen semen doses belonging to nineteen breeds have been cryopreserved at National Gene Bank during 2017-2021, for long-term preservation. To date, 2.5 Lakh semen doses of 48 native breeds have been cryopreserved.
A somatic cell repository has been created through cryopreserving 5448 vials for 24 threatened breeds/populations at National Gene Bank.
DNA repository of 170 breeds/populations – an option for faster germplasm cryopreservation: DNA Bank repository has been created for 131 breeds and 39 other populations of native livestock and poultry for medium-term conservation.
Trait identification and product characterization in native breeds
- Identifying the effect of A1/A2 cow milk: An in vivostudy, under National Fund was conducted to investigate the time course effects of milk with different beta-casein variants (A1/A2 allele) using C57BL/6 mice animal model. The A1 milk-based diet revealed fatty changes and cellular swelling in the liver of mice. In vitro trial of BCM-7 peptide, a mid-product produced after A1 beta-casein metabolism on mice also revealed higher blood glucose levels in comparison to BCM-9 of A2 casein. Treatment with BCM-7 also showed a lower level of insulin than that of the control as well asBCM-9 group. The study concluded the hyperglycemic effect of A1 milk, as an initiation of diabetes type-1, possibly.
- Characterization of native cow’s milk: Milk of Sahiwal, exotic – HF, and crossbred (Sahiwal x HF) cows (stall-fed condition) cows and grazing indigenous cattle was compared at the micro-metabolites level. Milk of grazing cattle was found to be rich in unsaturated fatty acids and β-carotene and low in total saturated fat (C4-C24) in comparison to the exotic and crossbred cows.
- Identifying higher anti-oxidant content in Kadaknath chicken: Antioxidant capacity of meat of Kadaknath chicken was compared with that of commercial Cobb and Jabalpur Color broiler through biochemical analysis. Kadaknath meat was found to possess a higher antioxidant capacity and anti-glycation potential than Jabalpur Color and Cobb broiler. Kadaknath meat was a better dietary source of nutricine- carnosine; a bio-active dipeptide. The study added value to the Kadaknath meat, already known for higher melanin, now found to have higher antioxidants.
- Genes underpinned for the delectable nature of Bandur sheep meat: Bandur sheep meat is highly preferred by consumers due to its unique flavour. Higher back fat thickness and muscle tenderness were observed in Bandur sheep as compared to other local sheep. Significantly higher levels of oleic acid – correlated with overall palatability and histidine-an essential amino acid were reported in these sheep. Muscle transcriptome profiling of Bandur sheep underpinned genes associated with tenderness and fat metabolism. The up-regulated HSPB1, DNAJB5, HSPA6genes are known to be associated with muscle tenderness. Increased valuation of mutton quality of Bandur sheep based on the tenderness of muscle, histidine, and oleic acid content, will improve the market value of Bandur sheep beyond the local area.
Whole-genome sequence of native breeds for developing snp chips
Whole-genome re-sequencing of 160 native breeds of all major livestock species (Cattle, buffalo, sheep, goat, horse, camel, pig, yak, chicken, and duck) was carried out and SNP chips specific to native cattle, buffalo, sheep, goat, camel, horse, pig, yak and chicken has been designed. Following DNA chips have been validated and patents have been filed:
- High-Density Chips for Indigenous Zebu cattle (Bos indicus)
- High-Density Chips for Riverine buffaloes (Bubalus bubalis)
- HD SNP chip of goat (Capra hircus) (complete application)
- HD SNP chip for indigenous backyard chicken (complete application)
- Medium Density SNP Chip of Bactrian and Dromedarian Camel (provisional application)
- High-Density SNP chip of Swamp Buffaloes (Bubalus bubalis) (provisional application)
- Linkage Disequilibrium SNP Chip of Riverine Buffalo (Bubalus bubalis) for Economic Dairy Traits (provisional application)
- Linkage Disequilibrium SNP Chip of Indigenous Cattle (Bos indicus) for Economic Dairy Traits (provisional application).
Information system for management of angr in india
- Development of Information System on Animal Genetic Resources of India: NBAGR has developed an Information System on Animal Genetic Resources of India (AGRI-IS 2.0). This database has the facility to store characteristics of various breeds of livestock and poultry along with two photographs of each breed; and district-wise information on animal resources w.r.t population, infrastructure, production, farms, semen availability, vaccine production, import and export, etc. CD Version of AGRI-IS 2.0 has also been developed using MS-Access which is being supplied on demand. The data are now being widely used in decision-making for project and policy planning and monitoring.
- Geographical Information System on-farm AnGR of India: The GIS on AnGR has been developed as a standalone package on MS-Windows-based computer. The computer program for the Geographical Information System (GIS) was developed using open software QGIS with Python programming language. The user Interface has been developed using PyQT4. A user can extract and highlight habitats of selected breeds on the map. There is an option of extracting one or more states in the map of India. Animal genetic resources can be classified and displayed based on values of traits such as body length, heart girth, etc. The maps along with legend can be saved as pdf or image files.
- Development of Mobile Apps for Farmers: Two “Mobile Apps” – 1. FAnGR of India, 2. NBAGR Data Centre have been developed related to information on AnGR in the country.
Impact of achievements in quantifiable terms to increase productivity / profitability / sustainability
Achievements of NBAGR have a larger impact on national and international levels:
Documenting native breeds increased the descript livestock population in the country: NBAGR has registered 202 breeds of native livestock and poultry and 3 breeds of dog since its inception which has a broader impact on all stakeholders of the livestock sector in the country. About 23 million livestock were described and included in the descript category due to the registration. In wake of previous achievements of the NBAGR, now the ICAR has given the responsibility of Zero Non-descript AnGR in the country, and the institute has initiated the work across the country in Mission Mode.
Registration and Gazette notification provided recognition and Statutory protection to native breeds: Registration of livestock and poultry breeds supported various policies and programmes of the Central and State Government. All 202 registered breeds have been the first time notified in 2019, 2020, and 2021 by the Government of India [Gazette Notification: Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, No. 3364 (S.O. 3699(E)) (October 14, 2019) and No. 1420 (S.O.1583(E)) (May 22, 2020))]. It provided statutory recognition of native germplasm and claimed sovereignty over the native germplasm.
Recognition of breeds provided space for policy formulation and development programs: Breed-wise livestock census was initiated and continued by the DADF, Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, Govt. of India. It is important for the breeds under threat. National Kamdhenu Breeding Centre an initiative by Govt. of India has included all the registered breeds of cattle and buffalo for conservation, promotion and development. Breeding programmes were also initiated for various breeds by the states. The breeding policy has been formulated by various states. This also enabled the agencies to develop suitable improvement programmes.
Recognition of breeds economically enabled the farmers: Farmers were also able to receive various benefits for the registered breeds. About 10 Breed societies were established by the local livestock keepers in different states, which enabled the farmers to harvest their produce. The example of the registration of Banni buffalo of Gujarat in 2010, helped in revitalized the Maldhari’s economy with improved livelihood. Daily milk supply to a cooperative family from almost zero in 2007-08 has reached 174 Kg per family in 2017-18. Income from the sale of milk increased from 30% in 2007-08 to 80% in 2017-18. As per a media report published, 30 Maldhari families produced the milk valued at Rs 2.2 crore by supplying 529,341 litres of milk to the Kutch District Cooperative Milk Producers Union during the year ended March 2017 (Mishra et al, 2012; CIRB, 2019).
Cryoconservation of germplasm safeguarded the native breeds from extinction: It has been achieved by Ex-situ conservation of 54 native breeds (about 27% of total breeds) in the form of semen and somatic cell cryopreservation at the National Gene Bank. National Biodiversity Authority has recognized the NBAGR as the National repository for the germplasm of domesticated animals.
In situ conservation increased the population of threatened breeds: In situ conservation of Poonchhi sheep, Kharai camel, Haringhata Black and Ankaleshwar chicken breeds during the last 5 years in their native tract enabled them to revive and increase the populations. With providing inputs and technical know-how the productivity of these breeds has also increased.
Molecular characterization assessed the genetic diversity and unique alleles in native breeds: A total of 200 breeds/ populations have been genetically characterized and population diversity was evaluated using microsatellite markers, so far. This resulted in assessing the genetic diversity among the native livestock and poultry populations of the country. Most of the populations were sufficiently diversified. Importantly, these studies also provide genetic relatedness among the native breeds. This was important to formulate the breeding program and find out the most suitable breeds for up-gradation of non-descript or mixed populations and prioritize the breeds for conservation in the country.
Product and trait characterization enhanced the economic value of native breeds:
Establishing the goodness of A2 protein milk allele of indigenous cattle over the A1 of exotic breeds has greatly enhanced the value of milk of native cattle breeds. NBAGR has also genotyped the locus in animals of about 30 cattle breeds and established that the native cattle are the natural reservoir of the A2 milk. Further, sensitizing the stakeholders and farmers about the goodness of native cattle breeds and their milk has tremendously improved their values. It also increased the remunerative benefits in terms of price of A2 milk and native cattle. Several state agencies have now incorporated the A2 milk in their breeding objective and initiated the testing of breeding bulls and cows for A2 allele. In the last five years, NBAGR has screened A1/A2 allele in about 1000 bulls of state agencies (Animal Husbandry Departments, Livestock Development Boards) kept for semen production.
Technology for improvement in productivity and lowering cost leading to increase in the economic output: Millions of SNPs specific to native breeds were annotated from the NGS-based high throughput sequence data for all native cattle and buffalo breeds. DNA Chips specific to indigenous cattle and buffalo breeds were created by utilizing genome-wide SNPs information. This would be beneficial for genomic selection in native cattle and buffalo breeds, to be initiated in near future. National Bovine Genome Centre established at NBAGR is working towards genomic selection in native cattle and buffalo populations.
Although most of the work, like breed identification and registration, had a tangible impact on society, there were other kinds of research related to trait identification/validation which would have a larger impact in the future. Identification of variants and genes for heat stress and climate resilience in native breeds would address the future potential of such variants in global warming and increasing disease epidemics.