New molecular methods for studying genetic diversity of Bulgarian livestock breed

Dr. Teneva's fellowship included training on bioinformatic analyses Bulgaria has long tradition in animal breeding, largely based on selection programs supported by the government. The Bulgarian livestock is genetically diverse and has become a subject of serious scientific interest in the last years. There are two local cattle breeds, the Rhodope Shorthorn and Bulgarian Grey Cattle, that are the first in the country to have been genotyped for genetic characterization.

In May and June 2006 Dr. Atanaska Teneva of the University of Forestry in Sofia, Bulgaria was an IAEA scholar at the Parco Tecnologico Padano in Lodi, Italy. During her fellowship Dr. Teneva studied the genetic polymorphism of genes encoding milk proteins, prolactin, growth growth hormone and the oxidized low density lipoprotein receptor (OLR1) of those Bulgarian breeds. Under the supervision of Dr. Alessandra Stella and Dr. Paola Mariani from PTP, Dr. Teneva was trained in microarray and SNP analyses. These analyses were based on multiplex PCR and LDR/UA assays. The method was validated by analyzing 93 DNA samples from Bulgarian Grey and Rhodope Shorthorn cattle that had been previously genotyped by RFLP and SSCP. In addition, Dr. Teneva received training in bioinformatics analysis of the DNA data generated.

According to Dr. Teneva, one of the most valuable experiences was the chance to use state-of-the-art technologies to further extend the knowledge about Bulgarian livestock genetics. This task was made possible by working with the young and knowledgeable team of Drs. Stella and Mariani. Nevertheless, despite the tough working schedule, Dr. Teneva managed to enjoy the wonderful town of Lodi and feel the special Italian spirit.

Dr. Teneva returned to Bulgaria with not only her new technical skills, but also new ideas and opportunities for further collaboration between the University of Forestry in Sofia and her hosts at the Parco Tecnologico Padano. Her experiences have encouraged her to continue her studies and expand her research in livestock genomics to implement the modern DNA techniques.

Source: Dr. Atanaska Teneva, University of Forestry, Sofia, Bulgaria (nas15@abv.bg)