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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Animal Genomics and Improvement Laboratory » Research » Research Project #429375

Research Project: African Goat Improvement Network: Strengthening Village Breeding Programs in Malawi and Uganda

Location: Animal Genomics and Improvement Laboratory

Project Number: 8042-31000-001-02-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Aug 15, 2015
End Date: Sep 30, 2019

Objective:
To 1) develop village based breeding programs for small holder goats at selected sites in Malawi; 2) select and train one PhD student in village breeding programs and livestock genetics related to genetic improvement; and 3) use DNA tools to analyze founder animals and subsequent improved descendents as well as attempt to facilitate selection of goats within the village breeding programs.

Approach:
Village breeding programs (VBP) will be established with small holders in two nearby communities within a single site with two different sites in Malawi (four communities – two sites total). The VBP will provide instruction to small holders about common animal husbandry methods, product marketing, and positive selection of superior individuals for breeding of future generations. LUANAR staff and students are responsible for interviewing/selecting small holders, devising breeding objectives with farmer input, facilitating farmer cooperative formation, selection of founding population of breeding animals, animal sample collection, and coordination of activities with other collaborative groups (i.e. BOKU). Animal genotypes will be derived from either commercial or custom SNP panels developed and processed by USDA, ARS, Animal Genomics and Improvement Laboratory (AGIL). The genetic analyses and integration of tools into the VBP completely leverages the resources derived from the Caprine Genome, the ADAPTmap project and genotypic data derived from the USDA African Goat Improvement Network under the Feed the Future Initiative.