Scientists race to develop farm animals to survive climate change
A report in the Los Angeles Times details the efforts Carl Schmidt and his colleagues at the University of Delaware, USA, put into developing heat-resistant chickens. They are trying to map the genetic code of African naked neck chickens to see if their ability to withstand heat can be bred into flocks of US broilers.
(Los Angeles Times, 03/05/2014)
Editor's note: Julius Kofi Hagan, at the Department of Animal Science, School of Agriculture, University of Cape Coast, Ghana, was awarded the third prize in the Young Professionals in Science competition for his research on developing chicken breeds that can be highly productive under the hot and humid environments of the tropics. The research undertaken in this breeding programme involved introducing two heat-tolerant genes – the naked neck (Na) and frizzle (F) traits – into chicken of the Lohman Brown, an imported bird of hybrid origin, to make them more productive in Ghana. How can the benefits from developing improved breeds in the US based on indigenous genetic resources from Africa be shared? What are the policy instruments? K4D has been advised by Prof Luke Mumba that there are a number of on-going efforts on the African continent to protect and at the same time sustainably utilise Africa’s biodiversity and indigenous knowledge. Through the support of NEPAD/SANBio, the SADC Plant Genetic Resources Centre has published policy guidelines on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture in June 2013 (www.spgrc.org.zm). At continental level, the AUC is working on Policy Guidelines to govern access, use and protection of biodiversity and indigenous knowledge.
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