ICAR-National Bureau of Animal Genetic Resources (Karnal) celebrated 35th Foundation Day

ICAR-NATIONAL BUREAU OF ANIMAL GENETIC RESOURCES (NBAGR), located at Karnal is the leading institute working for management of farm animal genetic resources including preserving its diversity in the country. On 20th September 2018, the Bureau celebrated its 35th Foundation Day with great zeal among the staff. On the Occasion, Dr. G.S. Rajorhia, President, Indian Dairy Association was honoured as Chief Guest of the function. Dr. R.S. Rana, Former Director, ICAR-National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources (New Delhi) and Mr. Amarjit Singh, Assistant General Manager, Canara Bank, Karnal Zone were the Guests of Honour of the occasion. Dr. Arjava Sharma, Director, NBAGR voiced the progress of the institute during the period of 34 years and admired the Bureau's predecessors for contributing immensely to make the institute as a premier at national and international level. The bureau has achieved unique position in country’s livestock sector and crossed important milestones in a short span, he added.

The institute is among six Bureaux working for documenting and preserving of different types of genetic resources related to agriculture biodiversity in the country established by Indian Council of Agricultural Research. NBAGR is mandated with management of Animal Genetic Resources of the country including its characterization, conservation and utilization as well as developing capacity building and policy issues. Since its inception, NBAGR has worked for identification and characterization of new indigenous livestock and poultry breeds, and has registered 169 breeds of these species, which include 41 of cattle, 13 of buffalo, 42 of sheep, 28 of goat, 18 of chicken, nine of camel, seven each of horse and pig; and one each of yak, donkey, geese and duck. During 35 years, more than hundred livestock and poultry breeds and populations have been characterized by the bureau. The institute has identified more than 50 new populations of farm animals, specifically from remote regions of the country. Scientific literature in form of descriptors and monographs has been published for each of the breed till now. Bureau has developed specific databases covering different aspects of native AnGR and its management. Institute's National Gene Bank is the repository of germplasm in form of semen, embryo, somatic cells and DNA. At present, about 1.5 lakhs of semen doses of over 40 livestock breeds have been cryopreserved at Gene Bank.

The Bureau also works through networking with different universities, departments and NGOs for conservation of threatened breeds in their respective native tract. Nine conservation programmes across the country, including revival of Krishna valley cattle, Beetal goat and Kilakarsal sheep in their native tracts has been successfully completed by the Bureau, in recent time. At molecular level, the bureau has created large genomic information on buffalo, goat, and camel. Bureau has also identified QTLs for growth, milk and reproduction traits of buffaloes and now, it is in process of developing the buffalo DNA chip for genomic selection. Genomics for adaptive traits including heat tolerance and disease resistance in native bovines is also important facet of the research. Bureau’s scientists are also validating the effects of A1/A2 milk using mouse model.

The institute regularly organize the various training programmes on management of AnGR for the academicians, researchers, veterinarians and other stakeholders. Beside this the bureau is instrumental in developing guidelines, formulating policies and modulating national and international issues related to management of AnGR in country.

Dr. G.S. Rajorhia, admired the Bureau for its significant achievements in a small time and congratulated the Director and staff for their efforts. In his Foundation lecture, he strongly advocated the role of dairy animals in social and nutritional security as well as upliftment of the rural society in the country. There is tremendous scope for growth of dairy sector in the country, which needs to be further intensified by giving more emphasis to native breeds, he added. Milk from native cattle and buffaloes, major contributor in Indian dairy industry, is fulfilling the daily need of milk proteins for the people of the country. Since, the contribution of crossbred cows is also increasing in dairy, the issues related to quality specifically A1/A2 milk should be addressed judiciously, he cautioned. There is need to put scientific awareness among wider section of the society to dilute misconception about the use of dairy products in daily life. Milk of non-conventional species like goat, camel and donkey having nutraceutical qualities would open new vistas of opportunities and play important role for their better utilisation and value addition, he added.

Guest of Honor Dr. R.S. Rana, Former Director, ICAR-National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources (New Delhi) emphasized on the need of developing the resilient dairy breeds which can produce in upcoming future of climate change. Mr. Amarjit Singh, AGM, Canara Bank, Karnal Zone briefed about financial support given to the farmers specifically in dairy sector. During the occasion, Dr. G.S. Rajorhia also conferred different awards to the Bureau staff including Dr. P.G. Nair Award to the best scientist.