Published: 30th January 2023
How did IISER Bhopal researchers sequence genomes of native cow breeds?
According to a press release by the institute, genome sequencing for four native cow breeds was unavailable earlier
A team of researchers from IISER (Indian Institute of Science Education and Research) Bhopal have, for the first time, produced the genome sequencing of four native Indian cow breeds. The study aims to improve the breeding and management of native cows leading to increased productivity and sustainability in the country's cattle industry.
Kasargod Dwarf, Kasargod Kapila, Vechur, and Ongole are the four breeds considered for the study. According to a press release by the institute, genome sequencing for these cows was unavailable earlier. The details of the study have been published in the preprint server bioRXiv, in a paper co-authored by Dr Vineet K Sharma, Associate Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, IISER Bhopal, and his research scholars Mr Abhisek Chakraborty, Mr Manohar S Bisht, Dr Rituja Saxena, Ms Shruti Mahajan, and Dr Joby Pulikkan.
"The genome is like a blueprint or a set of instructions for building and running an organism, like a plant or animal. It's made up of tiny units called genes, which contain the information needed for the organism to grow, develop, and function properly. By understanding the genome, scientists can learn important information about the organism, like how it might be related to certain diseases or traits," the press release states.
"Native Indian cows have special abilities that help them survive in tough conditions in India, such as being able to eat poor-quality food and being resistant to certain diseases. Previous studies have looked at certain traits of Indian cows, like how well they can handle hot weather, their size, and their milk type. But, because the complete genome of these unique Indian cow breeds was not known, it was difficult to understand the reasons why they have certain traits," the document adds.
Speaking about the research, Dr Vineet K Sharma, said, “We have identified a specific set of genes in the native Indian cow breeds that showed sequence and structural variation compared to the genes of the Western cattle species. This may provide valuable insights into how Indian breeds adapt to tropical conditions. Kasaragod Dwarf Conservation Society helped in sample collection from the Kapila Gaushala in Kerala."
"The genome structure can be used to improve the breeding and management of these cows, leading to increased productivity and sustainability in the Indian cattle industry. Sequencing the genome of these native Indian cow breeds can also help in understanding the genetic differences between them and other breeds, which will be a valuable resource for future studies and genetic improvement," he added.
The Professor said further, “Genome sequencing can help to preserve the genetic diversity of these native breeds, which is important for maintaining a healthy and resilient herd.” The press release mentions that since Vechur is the smallest cow breed, sequencing its genome is a remarkable achievement. "The researchers also identified the genes that showed sequence variation within dwarf and non-dwarf Bos indicus cattle breeds," it states.