UC Davis Helping Africa
To Prevent Poultry Diseases
new program that will identify genes crucial for breeding chickens that can
tolerate hot climates and resist infectious diseases -- specifically the
devastating Newcastle disease -- has been launched under the leadership of the
University of California, Davis.
global economic impact of virulent Newcastle disease is enormous. The project
is particularly important for Africa, where infectious diseases annually cause
approximately 750 million poultry deaths. Newcastle disease, a global threat to
food security, first appeared in 1950 in the United States. In 2002 it resulted
in the death of 4 million birds at more than 2,600 California locations and
cost $160 million to eradicate.
new effort, called the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Genomics to Improve
Poultry, aims to dramatically increase chicken production among Africa’s rural
households and small farms, advancing food security, human nutrition and
personal livelihoods. The innovation lab recently was established with a $6
million grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development as part of
Feed the Future, the U.S. government’s global hunger and food security
Zhou, principal investigator for the program and an associate professor of
animal science in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at UC
Davis, noted that disease resistance is one of the most economically important
traits for poultry production but also challenging to achieve through genetic
selection and traditional breeding alone.
are thrilled by the opportunity to apply cutting-edge technology and advanced
genomics to solve this problem in poor, developing countries,” said Zhou, whose
research focuses on the relationship between genetics and the immune system.
a chicken that can survive Newcastle disease outbreaks is critical to increase
poultry, meat and egg production in Africa and in other regions of the world,”
said David Bunn, director of the new innovation lab. “Increasing the production
of chickens and eggs can have a dramatic impact on the livelihoods of poor
and small-scale poultry production is considered to have tremendous potential
for alleviating malnutrition and poverty in Africa’s climate-stressed rural
communities. Improving the productivity of such poultry operations also
promises to improve incomes and nourishment for women and children, who
typically raise poultry for both income and food in Africa.
with Zhou and Bunn at UC Davis are Rodrigo Gallardo, an assistant professor in
the School of Veterinary Medicine, and Ermias Kebreab, a professor in the
Department of Animal Science. The UC Davis team will partner with animal
science professors Sue Lamont and Jack Dekkers, both at Iowa State University;
Boniface Kayang, head of the Department of Animal Science at the University of
Ghana; poultry health expert Peter Msoffe of Sokoine University of Agriculture
in Tanzania; and Carl Schmidt, a professor of animal science at the University
USAID and Feed the Future
U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is an independent agency that
provides economic, development and humanitarian assistance around the world in
support of foreign policy goals of the United States. As stated in the
President’s National Security Strategy, USAID’s work in development joins
diplomacy and defense as one of the key pieces of the nation’s foreign policy
USAID promotes peace and stability by fostering economic growth,
protecting human health, providing emergency humanitarian assistance, and
enhancing democracy in developing countries. These efforts to improve the lives
of millions of people worldwide represent U.S. values and advance U.S.
interests for peace and prosperity. More at: http://www.usaid.gov.
the Future is the U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative.
Feed the Future supports partner countries in developing their agriculture
sectors to spur economic growth and trade that increase incomes and reduce
hunger, poverty and undernutrition. More at http://www.feedthefuture.gov.
Labels: Africa, Feed the Future Innovation Lab, Genomics, Improve Poultry, newcastle Disease, UC Davis Helping Africa To Prevent Poultry Disease