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Dairy Board develops world’s first complete parent-wise genome assembly of buffalo

Ahmedabad | Updated on May 10, 2019 Published on May 10, 2019

Dairy organisation, National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) announced developing a new genome assembly named “NDDB_ABRO_Murrah” of riverine buffaloes. This comes on the back of successful launch of INDUSCHIP, a customized genotyping chip for indigenous cattle and their crosses.

Seen as a milestone for the dairy body, for the first time a trio binning was used for separating haplotypes of a buffalo, using a father-mother-offspring trio aimed at ensuring better accuracy. The genome assembly developed by NDDB has achieved more than 99 per cent genome coverage.

Dilip Rath, Chairman, NDDB said, "This newly developed genome assembly would provide more insights about buffalo genome and desired impetus for implementing Genomic Selection programme in buffaloes to achieve faster genetic progress in Indian buffalo population. It may be worth mentioning here that buffaloes are contributing more than 50 per cent of India’s milk production."

Murrah genome assemblies were submitted by NDDB scientist in US-based National Centre for Biotechnology Information database on April 25, 2019 - known as World DNA day.

An NDDB statement quoted Dr. Michael Schatz, a renowned scientist in genomics research as saying: "This will certainly be a valuable resource for the world." This Buffalo genome shall be India’s contribution to genetic improvement of buffalo in the world.

With this, NDDB’s team of scientists join the league of a few elite genomic research teams in the world to have developed accurate and haplotype resolved genome, the statement added.

World buffalo population is estimated to be 224.4 million, of which 219 million (97.58 per cent) are in Asia.

India has 113.3 million buffaloes, which comprise approximately 50.5 per cent of the total world.

Buffaloes are more resistant to ticks and certain diseases. In comparison to cattle, buffalo milk contains high fat percentage.

Buffaloes being most widely reared in the developing countries for milk production, developing a reference genome will help in deciphering biological differences and faster genetic improvement.

Published on May 10, 2019

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