University of Adelaide Water buffalo genome unveiled

by Editor fleischwirtschaft.com
Tuesday, November 14, 2017
Photo: Janine Grab-Bolliger / Joujou/ pixelio.de

An international team of researchers led by the University of Adelaide has published the full genome of the water buffalo – opening the way for improved breeding and conservation of this economically important animal.
The consortium of partners in Australia, Italy, China, Brazil, and the USA, with additional contributors in other countries, say they have now created the tools needed to apply modern molecular breeding systems to water buffalo.

"Water buffaloes were domesticated about 5000 years ago, and since then have been of economic importance for milk, meat and as a work animal around the world," says consortium leader Professor John Williams, Director of the University of Adelaide's Davies Research Centre at the Roseworthy campus.

There are two subspecies of water buffalo. The researchers sequenced the genome of the River buffalo, which have been selected for milk production through organised breeding programs in Italy, India, the Philippines and Brazil.

Professor Williams says such advances in genomics have revolutionised dairy cattle breeding and now the same molecular tools will be available for water buffalo breeding. This project is another great example of the University of Adelaide's depth and expertise in research areas related to food innovation.

The buffalo genome has been published in the journal GigaScience. The consortium led by Professor Williams has also published details of a specific molecular tool (called the Buffalo SNP chip) in the journal PLOS ONE. This SNP Chip will allow researchers and breeders to put the genome sequence information into practice. Genes that are involved in important traits related to production and disease can be located and used to estimate the breeding values of individual bulls and cows.

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