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

Intracare launches the world’s most eco-friendly hoof bandage

Intracare launches the world’s most eco-…

Intracare, developer and supplier of products for veterinary health and nutrition, has come up with the world’s most eco-friendly hoof bandage, which will be available worldwide

Nutreco receives grant to provide sustainable feed solutions for small-scale producers

Nutreco receives grant to provide sustai…

Nutreco, a global animal nutrition leader, has received a US$4.8mn grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to accelerate the implementation of localised, sustainable complete feed production in sub-Saharan...

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...

Prev Next

OTHER RELATED ARTICLES - Cattle

Gulf trade drives record Somali livestock exports

Gulf trade drives record Somali livestoc…

Somalia has registered record livestock exports for 2014 due to a rise in trade with the Gulf States

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

Clinton reveals US$46 million plan to boost Malawi agriculture

Clinton reveals US$46 million plan to bo…

US secretary of state Hillary Clinton has announced US plans to inject US$46mn into the Malawi agriculture sector in order to improve its self-sufficiency over the following three years

USAID launches Cargill, Ausvet, Heifer International and IPC consortium

USAID launches Cargill, Ausvet, Heifer I…

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has tapped a consortium led by Cargill including Ausvet, Heifer International, and the International Poultry Council (IPC) to improve livestock management

'230,000 head of cattle vaccinated against CBPP' in Gambia

'230,000 head of cattle vaccinated again…

Gambia has vaccinated 230,000 head of cattle against contagious bovine pleuropneumonia (CBPP), equivalent to 57.5 per cent of the targeted cattle population

Supporting animal and public health with veterinary vaccination

Supporting animal and public health with…

On the World Animal Vaccination Day on 20 April, NOAH chair Jamie Brannan highlighted the benefits of vaccination to support the health and welfare of the nation’s farmed and companion...

Allflex launches new Young Stock calf monitoring application

Allflex launches new Young Stock calf mo…

Allflex Livestock Intelligence, an Antelliq company, has announced the launch of the Allflex Young Stock dedicated health monitoring application for newborn calves up to six months old

Balancing winter ration supplementation for optimal cow performance

Balancing winter ration supplementation …

"Paying close detail to forage quality is very important to ensure that nutritional requirements of dairy herds are met," said Dr Richard Kirkland, ruminant nutritionist for Volac Wilmar Feed Ingredients

New FMD strain threatens North Africa

New FMD strain threatens North Africa

The detection of a new case of a novel strain of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) in Gaza strip stresses the importance of intensifying international efforts to stop the virus from spreading further in...

Niger imports superior cattle breeds from South Africa

Niger imports superior cattle breeds fro…

Niger has bought more than 72 different breeds of cattle, as well as 700 boar goats and doper sheep, from South African firm UCK Investments

Namibia’s strategy to support NCA livestock producers

Namibia’s strategy to support NCA livest…

A new strategy to be rolled out by the Namibian government is set to address the critical market shortage of livestock producers in the northern communal areas (NCAs)

Namibian puppies to protect Tanzanian livestock from danger

Namibian puppies to protect Tanzanian li…

The Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) has supplied four puppies from its Livestock Guarding Dog (LGD) programme to the Ruaha Carnivore project in Tanzania

Prev Next