Scottish researchers awarded £16m to improve cattle genetics

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Scottish researchers awarded £16m to improve cattle genetics

September 30, 2022

Improved genetics will be used to help smallholder farmers in developing countries

According to a press release from Scotland’s Rural College, Scottish researchers dedicated to supporting smallholder farmers in the Global South through advances in animal genetics research are entering a new phase of their efforts.

The Center for Tropical Livestock Genetics and Health CTLGH), of which Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) is a founding partner, has received approximately* additional funding to support its work over the next five years bringing the benefits of genetics research to livestock production in low and middle income countries (LMICs).

Building on the success of the first phase of CTLGH’s work, the organization has received nearly £13 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and around £3.1 million from the UK government through the Foreign and Commonwealth Development Office (FCDO).

Funding will be applied in partnership with a global network of farmer-facing organizations to leverage genetic gains in dairy cattle, poultry and other livestock.

Experts from CTLGH nodes in Scotland, Kenya and Ethiopia will seek to apply insights from genetic research to enable purpose-bred animals to be more productive, healthy, feed efficient and resistant to climatic and environmental challenges, thus contributing to the livelihoods of tropical livestock producers.

The funding tranche supports CTLGH’s current strategic plan, which will focus on developing tools and innovations for resilient smallholder livestock systems over the next decade.

CTLGH’s founding partners – the Roslin Institute at the University of Edinburgh, SRUC and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) – will focus on research, capacity building and knowledge exchange. knowledge to leverage partnerships and achieve strategic objectives.

The CTLGH was created to harness advances in genetics, genomics, animal breeding and data science that drive and support genetic progress in advanced economies, and apply them to animal production systems in countries. low and middle income (LMIC).

The launch of the new phase of CTLGH was announced at an event at ILRI headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya.

“Currently, 1.2 billion people in the world depend on livestock for their income and food security; this is important for poverty reduction and economic development,” said Appolinaire Djikeng, Director of CTLGH and Chair of Tropical Agriculture and Sustainable Development, University of Edinburgh. “The CTLGH strives to take the best of science that the Roslin Institute, SRUC and can offer, and put that into the context of livestock development for smallholders. »

“Healthy and productive livestock, equipped to withstand climate and environmental change, contributes to the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals by enabling more efficient and resilient production systems in which fewer livestock are needed,” he said. -he declares. “We look forward to making a positive impact by translating discoveries from the lab into tangible benefits for many.

“The SRUC is delighted to continue to play a leading role in this important project,” said Wayne Powell, Director and General Manager of the SRUC. “For many years, we have ensured that farmers benefit from selection tools that are continuously improved in light of new research. In addition, our expertise in data and digital pairing – drawing lessons from the dairy chain led by the SRUC – will be essential for the future of the Center as it helps farmers and fights poverty in sub-Saharan Africa.

* £1 = $1.12