Animal Genetic Resources Portal
पशु आनुवंशिक संसाधन पोर्टल

Animal Genetic Resources - An Overview

        Animal husbandry is an integral component of agriculture supporting livelihood of more than two-thirds of the rural population. These sectors also play a significant role in supplementing family incomes and generating gainful employment in the rural sector, besides providing cheap nutritional food to millions of people. Livestock provides milk, egg, meat as nutritious food, draught power for agriculture, wool, fibre, manure and domestic fuel, hides & skin. In 2010-11, this sector contributed 121.84 million tonnes of milk, 63 billion eggs, 42.99 million kg wool, and 4.83 million tonnes of meat to Indian economy. Milk is the main output of livestock sector accounting around two third (67%) of the total output by livestock sector. Meat and egg share 17.5% and 3.6% of the value of livestock output. Livestock contributed 3.6% to the total GDP and 24% to the agricultural GDP in 2010-11. Livestock are the best insurance against the vagaries of nature like drought, famine and other natural calamities.

        According to the 2007 Livestock Census, the country had 530 million livestock population and 649 million poultry population. During 2003-07, cattle and buffalo population has increased @1.5 per cent per annum each while sheep increased @3%, goat @2.5% and chicken @8.6% per annum. Population of horses, camel, donkey, mule, pig, mithun and duck has decreased

       Presently, there are 144 registered breeds of livestock and poultry in India which includes 37 breeds of cattle, 13 of buffalo, 39 of sheep, 23 of goat, 6 of horse and ponies , 8 of camel, 2 of pig , 1 of donkey and 15 of poultry in addition to many more not characterized and accredited so far, besides populations/breeds of other species like mules, yaks, mithuns, ducks, quails etc which are yet to be classified in to well descript breeds. The vast and varied population of animals that country possess is indigenous and about 20 to 25% of this population belong to well descript and recognized indigenous breeds of different species. The remaining large proportion of farm animal population is of non-descript native animals which so far have not been characterized systematically.

        Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) has initiated a mechanism for “Registration of Animal Germplasm” at National Bureau of Animal Genetic Resources (NBAGR), Karnal. This would provide protection to the valuable animal genetic diversity and facilitate its access for genetic improvement of animal breeds. Registration is nothing but a documentation of the knowledge, skills and techniques and, biological resources of local communities. Fifteen New breeds have been registered so far. This includes seven breeds of cattle, three of buffaloes, two each of goat and pig, and one of donkey. Indigenous pig and donkey breeds have been registered for the first time.

       Conservation strategies can be categorized either as In-situ conservation or as Ex-situ conservation. In-situ conservation primarily involves the active breeding of animal populations in such a way that diversity is optimally utilized in the short term and maintained for the longer term. In situ models of AnGR conservation have been developed by NBAGR by providing technical inputs and incentives to the farmers/breeders in the breeding tract of respective farm animal breeds.Ex-situ conservation means conservation away from the habitat and production systems where the resource developed.

       National Animal Gene Bank has been established at NBAGR, Karnal. A total of 1,09,200 frozen semen doses belonging to 277 breeding males (Bulls/Rams/Bucks/Stallions) from 37 breeds representing cattle, buffalo, sheep, goat, camel, yak and equine have been preserved at National GeneBank for posterity.

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