Conservation and Gene banking (National & Eastern African Regional) Unit
The Conservation and Gene Banking Unit has facilities to conserve germplasm of local livestock breeds from 13 countries of the East African region. It also serves to provide backup conservation of national animal genetic resources (AnGR).
Local livestock breeds comprise of animal genetic resources (AnGR) that have been reared for generations to provide food and other traditional services. They are adapted and more resilient to adverse climatic conditions than exotic breeds. Although they are less superior than their exotic counterparts in terms of production, they must be conserved and their superior traits (e.g., resistance to diseases and resilience to adverse climatic conditions) harnessed by current and future breeding programs.
The Unit employs a systematic system for characterizing AnGR based on morphometric traits and genetic or DNA markers. Phenotypic or morphometric characterization employs salient features observable on the animals such as body conformation, color markings, or linear traits. Genetic characterization utilizes genetic markers in combination with second generation and third generation sequencing technologies to characterize AnGR.
The Unit has a genomics laboratory which is equipped to perform germplasm genotyping to facilitate marker-assisted selection (MAS) or molecular breeding. DNA extraction (manual and automated), PCR (traditional or qPCR), and genotyping (length polymorphisms and SNPs) are some of the analyses carried out in our lab