Conservation of animal genes


The Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister, Radha Mohan Singh addressed a gathering at the ceremony for the Award of all Animal Breed Registration Certificates. He said that breed registry is an important step in documenting the vast animal genetic resources. The necessary knowledge and information will lead to preparation of an inventory of our genetic resources. So that, systematic efforts can be made for genetic improvement, conservation and sustainable utilisation of these resources.

The Minister said a large number of livestock and poultry breeds have evolved in the country due to  their diverse use and utility. Also, they are found in varied climate and ecological zones. Currently, India has 512 million livestock and 729 million poultry heads. There are 169 registered breeds of livestock and poultry in India. It includes 41 breeds of cattle, 13 breeds of buffalo, 42 breeds of the sheep, 28 breeds of goat, seven breeds each of pig and horse, nine breeds of camel, one breed each of yak and donkey among livestock. Also, 18 breeds of chicken and one breed each of duck and geese among poultry group. It is important that for the first time, the breeds of yak, duck, and geese have also been registered.

He said, with the advent of era of national sovereignty on genetic resources under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), a new approach is required to catalogue and describe the animal breeds. There is a need to protect our native animal genetic diversity in the light of the global scenario after World Trade Organisation (WTO) and Intellectual Property Rights. Understanding the diversity, distribution, basic characteristics, comparative performance, and current status of each country’s animal genetic resources is essential for their efficient and sustainable use, improvement, and conservation. Effective management of diversity of our native animals requires complete National List and periodic monitoring of the trends and associated risks. I feel that in the absence of such information, some animal breeds may fall significantly in population or even become extinct.

He also mentioned that understanding the need for an authentic national documentation system of valuable sovereign animal genetic resources along with known characteristics, Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) introduced a process for the registration of “Livestock and Poultry Breeds” through National Bureau of Animal Genetic Resources (NBAGR), Karnal, in 2007.



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