NDDB signs MoU with GCMMF to implement genomic selection in Gujarat. NDDB, GCMMF and Milk Unions of Gujarat have decided to collaborate on expanding reference population for genomic selection and extend benefits of improved genetics to the farmers of Gujarat. Shri Meenesh Shah, Executive Director, NDDB and Shri R S Sodhi, Managing Director, GCMMF inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in this regard during a virtual ceremony on 18 May 2021 at Anand. Milk Unions of Gujarat attended the MoU signing ceremony.
Speaking on the occasion, Shri Shah said that genomic selection is dependent on size of reference population that are performance recorded and genotyped. Accuracy of genomic selection increases with expansion of reference population.
Shri Sodhi informed that GCMMF and Milk Unions of Gujarat will play a crucial role in genomic selection. Extensive artificial insemination coverage and capacity to produce semen by milk unions will also help in faster dissemination of good genetics to farmers.
NDDB, GCMMF and Milk Unions will work together to develop SOPs for recording, take up data analysis and monitor the quality of data collected. Around 1.9 lakh animals will be recorded in next five years for their milk production capacity, fat, SNF & protein content of milk, reproduction regularity of animals, disease incidence, animal’s body type, animal’s behavior etc. Out of the recorded animals more than 80000 animals will be genotyped and related data will help in Genomic Breeding Value estimation with more accuracy. This programme will include important breeds like Gir, Kankrej, and crossbred cows and Mehsana, Jaffarabadi, Murrah buffaloes. It is envisaged that all the bulls that enter Gujarat’s semen stations will be genomically selected ensuring genetic merit.
The project will fast-track genetic progress in cattle and buffaloes not only for their milk production potential but also for regular reproduction, reduced disease incidences and improved appearance. Apart from semen stations, farmers will also be able to use genomics for selection of heifers. Apart from central government funding through NDDB, GCMMF and Milk Unions will also invest in performance recording, genotyping and training of manpower for this programme.
NDDB has been working towards implementation of genomic selection since 2014. Blood samples from more than 70000 animals (with production records) have been collected through Progeny Testing and Pedigree Selection projects (being implemented for major breeds across the country).
NDDB has developed custom genotyping chips INDUSCHIP and BUFFCHIP for genotyping cattle and buffaloes respectively. More than 20000 animals have been genotyped using these chips. Using both genotype data and performance records, genomic breeding values (an estimate that shows genetic potential of an animal) are estimated. Bulls of Gir, HFCB, JCB and Murrah breeds are genomically selected before distribution (to semen stations).