Application of Genomic Selection in Livestock Improvement

Ajoy Mandal, S. K. Das, M. Karunakaran, C. Bhakat, T. K. Dutta


Livestock contributes significantly to the livelihood of rural poor in our country and has enormous potential to reduce poverty. There is a predicted increase in demand for animal food products in India by 2020 and a rapidly growing market is also coming up. Livestock revolution will provide a better opportunity for poor farmers for benefiting from the rapidly growing market and thereafter providing a better food security for our country’s growth. Better livestock production efficiency can be obtained through improving animals genetically, which ultimately leads to enhancement of productivity of the production system in a sustainable manner. Genetic improvement of livestock through traditional selection for increasing livestock productivity has some major limitations. To overcome these limitations, genomic selection (GS) played a crucial role in livestock industry. GS, a marker-assisted selection on a genome-wide scale, uses information on variation in DNA sequences between animals to predict the breeding value of animals more accurately. Moreover, this method provides an accurate assessment of breeding values of animals without measuring the traits at early stages of life. Furthermore, the information is available not just for a single gene or trait, but also for all the genes and all traits at the same time. This is a DNA technology in breeding with true breakthrough potential. Through genomic selection, genetic progress can be increased dramatically.
Keywords: Food security, livestock production, genomic selection, breeding

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