African Goat Improvement project- Action March 2013
Agro-biodiversity and Biotechnology Program of the Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in East and Central Africa (ASARECA) in partnership with the Agricultural Research Service (USDA/ARS) Animal Production and Protection National Program, the Bovine Functional Genomics Lab, and the Office of International Research Programs, co-organized a second workshop for the African Goat Improvement Network (AGIN)-Implementation of tools for genetic resource conservation, improved health and breeding 12-15 March 2013, in Entebbe, Uganda. The AGIN project is part of the USAID Feed the Future Program, and aims to (1) develop goat genome sequence as a research tool/resource, (2) characterize breed structure and distribution of genomic regions impacted by natural and artificial selection in the goat, (3) develop local and regional breeding programs for improving locally adapted goats, (4) identify teams and methods for implementing these breeding programs, and (5) develop a short paper to describe the planning and implementation of AGIN objectives. This second meeting reviewed technical progress including sample collection, and reviewed/updated the international protocol being used. The sampling protocol and data storage for AGIN are being harmonized with the European ADAPTMap project (http://www.goatadaptmap.org/) dealing with goat domestication and global breed development.
The goal of this integration is to develop standardized phenotype collection that meets both AGIN and Adaptmap objectives. Preliminary genome sequencing efforts, SNP discovery and genotype analyses completed to date were described at the workshop. Scientists from partner countries presented information identifying unique local and regional goat breed diversity and critical phenotypes for characterizing goat health and productivity. African partners and potential partners were from Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. An informative and enthusiastic discussion on how the various groups can work together to achieve AGIN goals ensued. These meetings were followed with two days of farm visits to nearby Wakiso, Luwero and Mukono, Uganda. The participants visited five farms and discussed the AGIN project goals with the farmers, who represented a broad range of resource constrained production systems. Goat herds ranged from 2 goats to several hundred, and production systems ranged from highly extensive to intensively managed.