Saving the world’s genetic wealth: Scientists in Kenya propose plans for first livestock genebank

ILRI Clippings

The worm-resistant red Maasai sheep of East Africa

The indigenous, worm-resistant (and non-wool-producing) red Maasai sheep of East Africa (photo credit: ILRI).

SciDevNet reports on a ‘livestock genebank’ that’s needed to help conserve breeds and populations of farm animals, especially the wealth of diversity remaining in Africa and other developing regions, that are fast being eroded through cross-breeding and importations of exotic stock.

‘Speed read

  • The genetic diversity of livestock is decreasing but there are no genebanks for it
  • Hurdles to setting up a genebank to preserve the diversity include legislation and infrastructure
  • The preliminary project needs more funding, but has the expertise

‘Researchers in Kenya are working towards setting up the world’s first genebank for livestock.

‘The genebank could help protect the biodiversity of threatened breeds and be a useful research tool, says the team, based at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in Nairobi, Kenya.

‘Collecting genetic samples of species into genebanks is not new―it has…

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