Gene-edited livestock could be a boon to farmers in developing countries

Press/Media: Expert Comment

Description

Raising livestock is a vital source of income in developing countries. But these nations lack sophisticated breeding programs, so their cows and chickens don’t make as much milk, eggs, or meat as their counterparts in advanced economies. And because most farmers in developing countries have just a few animals, they risk losing all or most of their livelihood if a disease wipes out their livestock.

The Centre for Tropical Livestock Genetics and Health—based in Edinburgh and Nairobi—aims to help farmers in developing countries grow hardier and more productive animals with a little help from modern gene-editing techniques. Researchers can make tiny changes to DNA that mimic traditional breeding, but faster, and they can help identify which animals might be best for breeding.

Biologist Appolinaire Djikeng heads the center, which works with scientists and policymakers in developing countries. He spoke about the centerat the annual meeting here of AAAS (which publishes Science) earlier this month and sat down with Scienceto chat about his work. This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

Period27 Feb 2019

Media contributions

1

Media contributions

  • TitleGene-edited livestock could be a boon to farmers in developing countries
    Media name/outletScience Magazine
    CountryUnited States
    Date27/02/19
    Description By Erika K. CarlsonFeb. 27, 2019 , 10:10 AM

    WASHINGTON, D.C.—Raising livestock is a vital source of income in developing countries. But these nations lack sophisticated breeding programs, so their cows and chickens don’t make as much milk, eggs, or meat as their counterparts in advanced economies. And because most farmers in developing countries have just a few animals, they risk losing all or most of their livelihood if a disease wipes out their livestock.

    The Centre for Tropical Livestock Genetics and Health—based in Edinburgh and Nairobi—aims to help farmers in developing countries grow hardier and more productive animals with a little help from modern gene-editing techniques. Researchers can make tiny changes to DNA that mimic traditional breeding, but faster, and they can help identify which animals might be best for breeding.

    Biologist Appolinaire Djikeng heads the center, which works with scientists and policymakers in developing countries. He spoke about the center at the annual meeting here of AAAS (which publishes Science) earlier this month and sat down with Science to chat about his work. This interview has been edited for clarity and length.
    Producer/AuthorScience Magazine
    PersonsAppolinaire Djikeng