Animal health and genetics—Issues and controversies for ILRI research
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ILRI. 2011. Animal health and genetics—Issues and controversies for ILRI research. Video. Nairobi, Kenya: ILRI.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/12482
Internet URL: http://blip.tv/ilrivideo/animal_health_genetics-5763715
On 9 and 10 November 2011, the ILRI Board of Trustees held a 2-day 'liveSTOCK Exchange' to discuss and reflect on livestock research for development. In a session on animal genetics and health, participants discussed significant or controversial developments: the next big thing in animal genetics, breeding, health, genomics, and feeding. Among the points discussed: 1) the issue of transgenics: How, if we can breed disease resistance into an animal, can we go to scale to benefit smallholder farmers? 2) What has genomics done for us, and what can it do for small farmers? We need to think long term to better understand how adaptation works, and pay close attention to ethics, policy environments, and delivery of transgenics (supposing we can produce them). 3) How do we digest and translate genomics and metagenomics information to be understandable to small farmers? 4) How do we more effectively translate the 'blue sky' research into messages for farmers and technologies that value chain actors can understand and apply? 5) How do we 'ground truth' blue sky investments - that is critical to continue needed productivity growth into the future - into shorter-horizon research to support 'value chain' work? 6) In terms of forage crop improvement, we cannot really use the genetic information generated unless we have proper phenotyping at hand - this is lacking. We need to better match genetics with conventional phenotyping.7) An important role for ILRI concerns ethics: We need to generate evidence, communicate evidence effectively, facilitate its appropriate use. 8) Fertility management and sex-fixing of cattle (through mass insemination) has the potential in pastoral areas recovering from droughts to accelerate herd recovery rates. It seems to offer a way to increase recovery and resilience of herds. 9) Why don't we go for specialised breeds targeted to specific systems? We have the technologies, we have good breeds, why not clone them? We are concerned about tradeoffs between a focus on intensification and high value/productive animals - what about the indigenous breeds, and what about biomass requirements? 10). A critical issue concerns institutions - without the right frameworks and policies and strong institutions, better breeding can't achieve impact.