IAEA contributes to International Bovine HapMap Project

An exmaple of the sheko cattle The International Bovine HapMap Project is a large collaborative effort to obtain more knowledge on the genomic structure of cattle and to develop tools to apply this knowledge in the management of cattle genetic resources world wide. Among the objectives of the project are to (1) discover single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP); (2) validate at least 25,000 SNP by genotyping a panel representing 19 diverse Bos taurus and Bos indicus breeds; and (3) to estimate linkage disequilibrium and examine diversity among breeds. The IAEA is contributing primarily to the second and third objectives. They have sponsored the genotyping of the Sheko breed of cattle, a highly productive trypanotolerant breed from Ethiopia.

Much of the IAEA’s work with the project has been done in collaboration with the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in Nairobi, Kenya. ILRI obtained the samples of the Sheko cattle in the field and sponsored the analysis of the N’Dama breed of cattle. The N’Dama is also trypanotolerant and the ILRI and IAEA plan to evaluate the data from the SNP panel of the breeds together, to search for selection signatures that may indicate the presence of genes responsible for the trypanotolerance.

The IAEA is also collaborating with the (Norwegian University of Life Sciences, its Collaborating Centre at the (University of São Paulo in Brazil, and the Brazilian Association of Girolando Breeders on a project where Girolando cattle (a composite Holsteins and Gir breeds) will be genotyped using the SNP chip developed by the HapMap project in order to search for genes associated with milk production.