Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract only
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/30/2013
Publication Date: 1/11/2014
Citation: Sonstegard, T.S. 2014. The USDA Feed the Future Initiative for genetic improvement of African goats: an update on genomic resources and genetic characterization of indigenous breeds. Plant Animal Genome XXII, paper W430, pp. 161. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: Food production systems in Africa depend heavily on the use of locally adapted animals such as goats which are critical to small-scale farmers as they are easier to acquire, maintain, and act as scavengers in sparse pasture and marginal crop regions. Indigenous goat ecotypes have undergone generations of adaptation and genetic isolation or bottlenecks that have led to great phenotypic variation between populations; however, very little characterization of the underlying genetic differences has been done. Some of this variability, which includes differences in environmental adaptation, disease resistance, and improved productivity under local conditions, can be used as a starting point for initiating community-based genetic improvement programs for better overall performance and productivity. To identify these adaptive variants, the African Goat Improvement Network has collected phenotypes and DNA from more than 1,700 goats within 9 African countries encompassing approximately 31 goat populations. Initial genetic characterization using Illumina’s Caprine53K Beadchip has shown goat populations can be distinguished by geographic location and levels of admixture. Additionally, PacBio sequences from a highly inbred San Clemente buck are being used to improve the existing caprine reference genome assembly model to enhance identification of important adaptive variants. The longterm goal of these efforts is to develop genomic tools for goats that can be used to breed genetically superior adapted goats and help meet rising global demands for animal protein based food.