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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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Sekota, Ethiopia, Livestock Improvement Project sample collection, June 2012

 

Livestock Improvement

Fish and livestock are critical to communities, livelihoods, nutritional status, and economic development. Globally, the livestock sector employs 1.3 billion people and contributes up to 50% of global agricultural GDP, and animal protein intake by children has been linked to improved cognitive development. By 2025, global meat and animal protein demand is expected to grow by almost 40%.  As part of the U.S. government’s global hunger and food security initiative, Feed the Future, USDA is building collaborative scientific partnerships with nearly a dozen organizations that will help U.S. and African goat producers enhance goat breeding and productivity.  ARS, Virginia State University, African research partners and others will collect and share goat DNA and performance measures (i.e. milk yield, parasite resistance, growth rate) from more than 20 distinct goat populations from Africa, the United States, and other populations.  Researchers will identify unique genes in each population and develop genetic preservation plans.  Considering how breeds differ in performance traits like milk yield and parasite resistance, this project will associate those differences with the DNA, enabling farmers to more quickly breed healthier, more productive goats than by observing performance traits alone.

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Last Modified: 9/24/2014
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