A review of challenges to genetic improvement of indigenous livestock for improved food production in Nigeria
Indigenous livestock production is intertwined with the life style of Nigerians. The Nigerian livestock industry employs the bulk of the rural work-force, and indigenous livestock breeds are abundant in the industry. These breeds are distributed across the diverse agro-ecological production systems, and are carriers of unique and responsive genotypes shaped by the needs of their managers. Despite their unique features, most indigenous livestock breeds are characteristically low in production and productivity. Improvement of these breeds represents a logical starting point for improving food security and agricultural productivity in Nigeria. To better understand natural genetic variation in these indigenous livestock breeds and strategies for improvement, better genetic characterization is required. Molecular assisted selection (MAS) will be valuable in the pursuit of selection for increased production, but the application of MAS to livestock improvement is constrained by a variety of limitations. The focus of this paper is to elucidate the potential of MAS as a tool for genetic improvement of indigenous livestock, to identify constraints and challenges in MAS implementation and propose solutions to increasing MAS feasibility in pursuit of improved food security and sustainability in Nigeria.
Keywords: Food security, Genetic improvement, Genomic Selection, Indigenous livestock, Marker assisted selection, Nigeria
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