twitter RSS Feed linkedin acp contact

Genetic engineering to help fight against African cattle disease

Scientists have identified two genes which may help the fight against African animal trypanosomiasis, a sleeping sickness transmitted by tsetse fly

Genetic_engineering_hisksTwo genes integral to fighting African nagana infection have been discovered. (Image source: hisks/sxc)

The finding would help save the livelihoods of many farmers as an estimated three million dairy and meat-producing cattle die from the disease, which is locally known as nagana.

"The two genes discovered in this research could provide a way for cattle breeders to identify animals that are best at resisting disease," said International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) geneticist Steve Kemp.

Researchers have used a range of genetic approaches, including analysing differences in genetic activity in the tissues of cattle breeds after animals were experimentally infected with the parasites.

While zebus, the humped cattle breeds was susceptible to disease-causing trypanosome parasites, a humpless West African breed called N'Dama was not seriously affected. Using microarrays, the researchers identified a suite of genes that were switched on or off after infection.

After resequencing the two genes integral to fighting infections – ARHGAP15 which regulates neutrophil function, and TICAM1 which regulates dendritic cell migration – scientists identified the disease-resistant alleles in the West African breed.

Though the N'Damas weren't particularly good at plowing fields or producing milk, researchers hope to create cattle breeds that are disease-resistant and commercially productive by crossing the two alleles with zebus species.

Using genetic engineering, an approach still in its early days, Kemp said he hoped the disease-resistant breed would be produced in four or five years.

The annual economic impact of nagana in terms of sick, wasting cattle and farming productivity losses has been estimated to be from US$4 billion to $5 billion.


LATEST NEWS IN Cattle

Volatility: challenges in animal feeding

Volatility: challenges in animal feeding

As price volatility propels the use of alternative feed ingredients, Adisseo's team discusses how the quality of diets and the performance of animals can be maintained in such situations

Tackling transboundary animal diseases in Zimbabwe

Tackling transboundary animal diseases i…

To curb high impact transboundary animal diseases in Zimbabwe, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development launched the animal health...

Nuclear techniques help Zambia ensure safety in animal food products

Nuclear techniques help Zambia ensure sa…

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) are working with Zambian experts to address drug resistant microbes as well as food contamination in meat...

Evonik publishes first edition of animal diet

Evonik publishes first edition of animal…

Evonik, a German-based specialty chemicals company has published the first edition of the MetAMINO ATLAS displaying the results of 15 performance trials investigating the relative bioavailability of supplementary methionine sources...

Europe's insect breeding facility gets WEDA's feeding system

Europe's insect breeding facility gets W…

WEDA Dammann & Westerkamp GmbH is supplying the complete insect feeding system for the Polish feed producer HiProMine  

Meeting methionine requirement

Meeting methionine requirement

Mepron is concentrated, time-based release minipellet that features a solid core of DL-methionine, an essential amino acid

Prev Next

OTHER RELATED ARTICLES - Cattle

Livestock breeds in trouble of extinction

Livestock breeds in trouble of extinctio…

FoodTank report reveals that many of Africa's cattle breeds are under the threat of extiction

US grant to support Zambian dairy farming sector

US grant to support Zambian dairy farmin…

A US government organisation has awarded a K730mn (US$150,857) grant to the Mongu Dairy Cooperative Society (MODACO) and the Zambia Agribusiness Technical Assistance Centre (ZATAC) to help Zambian dairy farmers...

South Sudan suffers as cattle rustling intensifies

South Sudan suffers as cattle rustling i…

Thousands of cattle stolen have been stolen and more than 200 people killed in cattle raids in South Sudan this year

Sudan livestock exports nearly double in 2012

Sudan livestock exports nearly double in…

The Sudanese minister of livestock, fisheries and pastures, Faisal Hassan Ibrahim, has revealed that the country’s livestock exports rose by 96.6 per cent in 2012

Livestock experts seal agreement on cattle breeding rules

Livestock experts seal agreement on catt…

The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) has agreed on cattle breeding rules, its first on livestock production, according to a report by Reuters

NOAH launches #VaccinesWork campaign

NOAH launches #VaccinesWork campaign

On the World Animal Vaccination Day, NOAH, a member of AnimalhealthEurope, has launched this year’s #VaccinesWork campaign

Olam and InVivo to develop animal feed solutions in Nigeria

Olam and InVivo to develop animal feed s…

Global agri-business entity Olam International Limited and InVivo Animal Nutrition & Health have signed a consulting agreement to develop expertise in animal feed production in Nigeria 

Kenyan dairy farm project set up by Italian investors

Kenyan dairy farm project set up by Ital…

Italian firm Sace-Servizi Internazionali, together with nine specialists in the beef and dairy value chain, is investing US$20mn in a model dairy farm at MoiUniversity in Eldoret, Kenya

FAO and OIE collaborate to curb animal disease

FAO and OIE collaborate to curb animal d…

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the World Health Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) will join forces to control the spread of animal disease to improve food safety and...

Namibia first African country to export beef to the US

Namibia first African country to export …

A final ruling from the US Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has approved the importation of boneless meat and other beef products from Namibia, making the country the first...

Egypt suffers major foot-and-mouth outbreak

Egypt suffers major foot-and-mouth outbr…

Urgent action is required to control a major outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease and prevent its spread throughout North Africa and the Middle East

Nigerian anti-grazing bill tackling frustrating passage through the House

Nigerian anti-grazing bill tackling frus…

John Dyegh, the lawmaker representing Gboko/Tarka Federal constituency at the Nigeria National Assembly has claimed that 'powerful Nigerians' are disrupting the passage of the bill banning open grazing

Prev Next