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Animal Breeding, Genetics, & Genomics

Avian Genetic Resources

Although the mapping of the chicken genome is almost complete, it is important that poultry and avian genetic stock be available for further genetic research studies. Those stocks, which include unique genetic lines, are essential for addressing important questions in the biomedical, basic biological, and agricultural sciences. NIFA is working in several ways to insure the long-term availability of avian genetic stock, though the support of a recently launched Web site and a related symposium.

In 2005, with funding from the NIFA Plant and Animal Sciences unit, a University of California-Davis team, led by Dr. Mary E. Delany, developed a Web site with detailed stock and curator listing of avian research stocks available for the biological research community. The Web site information updates the 1995 “Avian Genetic Resources at Risk: An Assessment and Proposal for Conservation of Genetic Stocks in the USA and Canada,” produced by the Avian Genetic Resources Task Force, which consisted of a composite of researchers from academia and industry.

Additionally, NIFA organized a symposium, “Conservation of Avian Genetic Resources: Current Opportunities and Challenges,” at the 2005 annual Poultry Science Association meeting where academic and industry experts gathered to address historical and contemporary aspects of genetic conservation of avian genetic stocks. There was group consensus on the need to conserve avian resources, but that the focus of existing and future poultry stock facilities should go beyond maintenance and involve scientific and research functions including the training of students. Symposium results will be published in the January 2006 Poultry Science Journal.

For more information, contact Muquarrab Qureshi, NIFA Plant and Animal Systems National Program Leader.


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