Management of genetic diversity in the Sahiwal cattle breed in Kenya

Title Management of genetic diversity in the Sahiwal cattle breed in Kenya
Objectives
  1. To determine the population structure and estimate parameters based on gene origin statistics for Kenyan Sahiwal cattle breed.
  2. To estimate realized and predict expected measures of genetic diversity for different year cohorts for the Kenyan Sahiwal population
  3. To evaluate the effect of controlling future rate of inbreeding on expected genetic gain and design a strategy to manage genetic diversity of the Sahiwal breed in Kenya
Duration 1 year
Status Ongoing
Abstract The Sahiwal cattle breed in Kenya is faced with a declining effective population size due to an upward trend in inbreeding levels. Failure to put in place a strategy to control future rates of inbreeding will lead to loss in genetic variability and challenges in planned mate allocation, thus threatening the long term viability of the population. Development of a sustainable breeding programme for the Sahiwal breed in Kenya requires a strategy to manage genetic variability while achieving optimal genetic gain. Pedigree and performance data from the National Sahiwal Stud and Kenya stud Book will be used to analyse the population structure of the Kenya Sahiwal breed and determine whether loss of genetic diversity has occurred over time by estimating probability of gene origin statistics parameters. Realized and expected measures of genetic diversity (rate of inbreeding and effective population size) for different year cohorts breed will be estimated to describe current and future trends in the population’s genetic diversity in order to understand the trend in genetic variability if no control measures are put in place. Effect of controlling future rate of inbreeding on expected genetic gain will be assessed and a strategy to manage genetic diversity of the breed will be designed. All parameters of genetic variability will be estimated using ENDOG v4.8 software. Various group years will be determined by the generation interval of the breed. GENCONT-2 program will be used to evaluate the optimal mating frequencies. The study will lead to the development of a sustainable genetic improvement of traits of economic importance in the Sahiwal population while maintaining genetic diversity at levels where the population maintains is evolutionary potential and viability in the long-term.
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