West and Central Africa provides a unique mixture of the world's major cattle types. Taurine (humpless) cattle, of ancient origin, and Zebu (humped) animals, products of more recent migrations, inhabit adjacent and often overlapping areas. over one third of Africa is infested with the tsetse fly and consequently trypanosomiasis, for which it serves as a vector, is endemic. The regional taurine breeds, such as the N'Dama and West African Shorthorn, possess marked disease resistance (trypano - tolerance) and predominate in high challenge areas. the trypanosusceptible
Zebu breeds may inhabit infested regions only when maintained by chemical means. Currently there is a high level of interest in cattle of this region in both selection and research projects designed to utilise disease resistance. However, the populations from which these programmes draw their subjects are often heterogeneous and poorly defined. This proposal seeks to determine the genetic relationships among local breeds of cattle in West and Central Africa, including the most important trypanotolerant populations. In addition, it will quantify the extent of genetic diversity within and between breeds. A rational and simplified classification of regional cattle breeds should emerge. Some genetic resources of cattle in the region are threatened and an extensive genetic description will facilitate the choice of appropriate populations as subjects for conservation measures.
All analyses will be DNA centred. Variation in several genetic systems will be addressed. These will include: the mitochondrial D-loop sequence, microsatellite marker systems, a Y chromosome sequence and restriction fragment length polymorphisms - both those of single loci and several linked systems (haplotypes). The utilisation of a variety of loci and types of DNA variation will provide a more complete analysis of the genetic origins of intraspecific populations.
This proposal involves the transfer of equipment and techniaues to two African institutes and includes the training of at least two African workers in Europe. It is intended that the results of this study Will be applied in situ by these national bodies.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts